Thursday, June 19, 2008

RTF Review

As most of you know, I have very eclectic tastes in music. I love a good bluegrass song, dig the blues and rock and roll, like a lot of the country stuff and then there' jazz fusion side. I first heard "Return To Forever" in a head shop in Moline. I walked in and was enamored with how fast and precise these guys could play. That revelation made me seek out Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Lee Ritenour, Billy Cobham, etc etc. It has been 25 years since this incarnation of RTF has been performing. I can not name the songs they played but their wizardry in pulling off such incredible, tight, fast runs is amazing. Al DiMeola and Chick Corea were smiling at each other many times during the evening as they pulled off those intricate pieces with great skill and ease. One of the problems of this tour, I think, it that it seems that all of the other guys have been playing but Lenny White, the drummer, looked like he felt uncomfortable and had to be pulled along by the other guys. It seems that he had to think about what he was playing before he played it, The other guys seemingly just played automatically. It was a near perfect evening with one glaring exception, the solos. Each one had a turn. Al kept his guitar solo relatively short and sweet, Chick's could have been about 3 minutes shorter, Stanley could have cut his short by half and Lenny White should NOT have attempted one at all. It was sloppy and unfocused for about 10 minutes. I haven't played in twenty years and I think I could have pulled it off better. Other than that, they were as good, if not better than I thought they would be. I think this music is our generations "classical" music. These guys may be our greatest unknown composers. That lead me to a question..who will keep this music alive? There doesn't seem to be any younger people focused on this style of jazz. Who's next when it comes to carrying the torch of Mahavishnu, RTF, etc? It was an amazing evening.

1 comment:

Kent Hall said...

You hit the nail on the head about
Lenny. What the hell happened? He used to be ferocious. Also, the sound system was way too low in volume. I could speak to my wife in a normal voice and be heard....not good! And finally I'd like to add that the light show, although simple, was one of the best I've seen. Overall I graded it a B. To be honest, Their solos
where all the standard solos they do every time I've seen them(seperately)and disappointed me a little, I came to hear RTF songs not solos. I felt they were just filling time. Now that I think about it, seeing that they're the best of the best...a B is too generous. They deserve a C in my book. Because from such greatness, great things are expected. And I was disappointed.

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