Local Wire

Return to Forever @ Mesa Arts Center

Forever, the new album from Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White, may be credited to Corea, Clarke, and White, but most fans can read between the lines: It's a Return to Forever album in all but name (and that title sure is cheeky). Touring in support of the two-disc album (disc one is acoustic; disc two is electric and features violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, guitarist Bill Connors, and vocalist Chaka Khan), Corea and company decided it was time to bring the old moniker back into service. "One of the reasons why we liked to [use the name] is it kind of answers a pretty large number of constant requests we get from fans about wanting to hear Return to Forever," Corea says. "Stanley and Lenny and I like that a lot." With Ponty in tow and guitarist Frank Gamble added to the mix, Corea says the new lineup feels fresh and adds new elements to interpretations of classic material like Romantic Warrior. "The band has such a new, fresh sound," says Corea. "Even playing the old material feels like new, fresh stuff."

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.