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This week, let's check out some videos of Return to Forever, who are coming to St. Louis later this month to perform at the Fox Theatre on Thursday, August 25. (Zappa Plays Zappa will be the opening act.)
This version of the band, dubbed RTF IV, features keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White, plus guitarist Frank Gambale and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty in place of guitarist Al DiMeola, who took part in the group's reunion tour back in 2008 but declined to participate this time around.
RTF IV already has been on tour for a good part of the summer, mostly in Europe, playing their vintage material and a couple of Ponty's compositions. There are quite a few fan-made videos of the group circulating online, and today we've picked out some of the better-sounding ones to give you an idea of what to expect from their St. Louis performance.
Up above, you can see and hear them play Dayride," at a show in Marseilles, France. Down below, there's an acoustic version of Romantic Warrior" taken from their show in Paris, followed by Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" from the same performance. Below that, you can check out Renaissance," a new composition by Ponty, as performed by RTF IV in Rovinj, Croatia. (Unfortunately, the video cuts off before the end of the tune, but the 15 minutes worth captured on tape should give you an idea of what it's about.)
Below that, there's a version of Corea's most famous composition Spain," from the Montreux Jazz Festival, and finally, Clarke's School Days," the video of which was shot from sort of a weird angle in the balcony, but has more than acceptable sound quality.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.