Return to Forever (with Zappa Plays Zappa), 9/8/11


Return to Forever featuring Jimmy Herring (with Zappa Plays Zappa)
Fabulous Fox Theatre
Atlanta, GA
September 8, 2011


Hailed by many as a founding voice in the jazz-fusion movement of the 1970s, Return to Forever is back on the road. On this night, they had Dweezil Zappa’s Grammy Award winning effort to keep the music of his dad, Frank, alive (Zappa Plays Zappa) serving as openers. Throughout the course of Zappa’s  set, they stunned many in attendance — most notably during “St.   Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast” — who seemingly had yet to hear ZPZ. Dweezil and company-definitely did their part to set the stage for the evening’s main event, Return to Forever. Billed as Return to Forever IV, the core of the band is Chick Corea‘s keyboards, Stanley Clarke‘s bass and Lenny White‘s drums, along with bandleader legend and Mahavishnu Orchestra alum Jean-Luc Ponty on violin and fiery-fingered guitarist Frank Gambale. On this evening though, the already splendid RTF lineup was sweetened even further by guest guitarist Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Jazz is Dead), who made his way onto the celebrated Fox stage for the final song of the evening — a ripping rendition of Stanley Clarke’s “School Days” — and subsequently, took part in one of the finest examples of pristine musical interplay imaginable.  It was improvisation at its finest. Photographer Ian Rawn was on the scene to captures all the greatness that night.

Click the thumbnails for photos from the show by Ian Rawn