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Return to Forever @ Gibson Amphitheater, 6/13/08

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Return to Forever is no "Boy Band"--they'd rather be called a "Man's Band." | Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Used with permission

By Roger Park

Musical mastery is a rare beauty. On Friday, legendary jazz supergroup Return to Forever played two sets to an enthusiastic audience at the Gibson Amphitheater.

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Formed by keyboardist Chick Corea over 30 years ago, Friday’s classic lineup featured bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Al Di Meola and drummer Lenny White. The group recently announced a reunion tour and will play over 50 dates in North America and Europe this summer. Known for incorporating the visceral energy of rock with incredible jazz improvisational virtuosity, Return to Forever became a powerful statement in modern music history. The band is one of the founding pillars of jazz fusion in the 1970s.

And how does music hold up in the 21st century? The Los Angeles performance proved Return to Forever remains just as innovative, powerful, grooving and compelling as ever. The band’s intensity and craftsmanship is unparalleled; half a dozen tempo shifts in one song, dramatic texture transitions and unprecedented control of dynamics are handled with incredible precision and above all, tremendous feel.