Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire
Courtesy of Zak

Thirty years since their founding, and following on the heels of visits by fellow funk icons James Brown and George Clinton, seminal Seventies supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire return to Japan for their first visit in four years. Fittingly, the tour will bring them to the glistening Tokyo International Forum, an ideal venue for the group' polished sound.

Founded in 1969 by Memphis-born drummer/singer Maurice White, EW&F immediately stood out from peers like James Brown or Sly and the Family Stone. "I wanted to do something that hadn't been done before," White recalls on the band's official website ( "We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness, and I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners spiritual content."

White has not participated in recent tours, and will not be present in Tokyo (he did make the last tour in 1996), but other core members responsible for EW&F's sophisticated, jazz-influenced funk and soaring vocals will be making the trip. Verdine White, bassist and brother to Maurice, is on the bill as is four-octave singer Phillip Bailey, drummer/vocalist Ralph Johnson and guitarist Sheldon Reynolds.

Meanwhile, EW&F is at work on a new album, produced in collaboration with Maurice White and Jean Wyclef of the Grammy-winning hip hop trio The Fugees. The album, due out next year, will be the group's 23rd.

Sony Music Legacy is also re-releasing four of EW&F's landmark albums: Gratitude, That's The Way of The World, All 'n All and The Best Of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1. The initial tracks have been digitally remastered, and supplemented with outtakes and other material culled from the original recording sessions.

Earth, Wind & Fire play Tokyo International Forum on September 9/26-27. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana