Song of the day on Tuesdays here has evolved into the day that I usually present you with a hotshot guitarist, but today I’m giving you a two-for-one deal: a hotshot guitarist and a hotshot bass player*.
My favourite jazz fusion band is Return To Forever, and one of the major reasons for that is Stanley Clarke, my all-time favourite bass player not named Paul. Another reason is Al Di Meola, RTF’s guitarist who sounds more like a speed metaller than a jazz-head. And another reason is Lenny White, one of the most dextrous drummers I’ve ever heard (he’s even quicker than The Police‘s Stewart Copeland, and that’s saying something). The other guy in the band is Chick Corea, the band’s founder and keyboard wiz. Although Chick’s very famous in jazz circles (a lot of critics regard him as one of the greats), he’s my least favourite musician in the group, but that’s only because of my preference in instrumentation, not because of his playing. He’s incredibly good at what he does, but I prefer strings and skins to keys. Nevertheless, all four musicians are great together (they’re a wonderfully cohesive group) and I really dig the music. Plus they’re all great together. (I think I’ve already said that.)
If you’re game, here’s a track from my favourite Return To Forever album, Romantic Warrior (1976). I chose this particular track because it’s the rockiest (or, putting it another way if you’re averse to jazz fusion, you could call it the least horrible):
Return To Forever – “Majestic Dance” (1976)
As a bonus (which may not be the word you’d use), here’s “The Magician”, a track that has everything you’d want in jazz fusion – multiple time signatures, virtuoso playing, speedy riffs performed at warp-factor five etc. It also has a sense of humour:
Return To Forever – “The Magician” (1976)
Because there is the distinct possibility that I may never get the chance to play you any other Return To Forever tracks here ever again (depending on the amount of complaints I get for presenting jazz fusion on a power pop blog), I’m going to cram in another track from the album:
Return To Forever – “The Duel Of The Jester And The Tyrant (Part I and Part II)” (1976)
And another one (why not?):
Return To Forever – “Romantic Warrior” (1976)
That’s probably all the jazz fusion you’re able to stand for the time being, so next week I’ll try to find you something that won’t have you running out of the room screaming. However… I can’t really presume to completely know your taste in music, so you may not have run out of the room screaming. If you didn’t totally hate what you heard today and are feeling even more adventurous, just say the word and I’ll see what I can inflict upon your sensibilities next Tuesday.
(*There are plenty of bass players I want you to hear, but I might ease into that area because I don’t know how boring you find bass players.)