This DVD follows the 2-CD release of the band’s 2008 tour. The footage captures the unit’s Montreux Jazz Festival engagement along with bonus tracks from a show in Clearwater, Fla. Much ballyhooed by the media amid anticipation from jazz-fusion aficionados, the film highlights a portion of Return To Forever’s first tour in 25 years.
Return To Forever were among the pioneering 1970s fusion bands that unified strong material with a unique sound and mode of attack. In turn, the unit transmitted a higher-level of musicianship and, of course, remain influential to this day.
They kick matters into hyper-mode on the first track titled "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy," which originally featured guitarist Bill Connors on the 1973 album bearing the same moniker. The artists dazzling musicianship and synergistic interplay remains in full stride in concert with Chick Corea’s use of antiquated Moog synths, Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano.
Lenny White forsakes bashing and smashing during his articulate, and melodic solo on "Lineage (Lenny’s Solo)." Moreover, the band adds an improvisational element to the original material while frequently breaking out into mini-jams during the various acoustic and electric settings. Corea unleashes "Song to the Pharaoh Kings," with a beefy and fluent analogue synth-based intro, then segues into the complex and orbital primary theme. Here, Corea and guitarist Al Di Meola embark upon supersonic soloing activities as bassist Stanley Clarke handles the bottom-end with near flawless precision. Then on "Al’s Solo," the musicians engage in a hodgepodge of neo-classical and Spanish derived frameworks, where the keyboardist and guitarist align for a series of stirring duets.
History often dictates that a good portion of these reunions fail to capture an ensemble’s original spark. Thankfully, the musicians perform with a rather joyous gait while adding spice to the familiar discography via a crop of unanticipated surprises. No doubt, these superior instrumentalists haven’t lost their touch. And it’s all enamored by the film crew’s multi-angled shots that dutifully convey the group’s momentum.