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Jazz - Released March 1, 1977 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released November 20, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released March 1, 1977 | Columbia - Legacy

Weather Report's biggest-selling album is that ideal thing, a popular and artistic success -- and for the same reasons. For one thing, Joe Zawinul revealed an unexpectedly potent commercial streak for the first time since his Cannonball Adderley days, contributing what has become a perennial hit, "Birdland." Indeed, "Birdland" is a remarkable bit of record-making, a unified, ever-developing piece of music that evokes, without in any way imitating, a joyous evening on 52nd St. with a big band. The other factor is the full emergence of Jaco Pastorius as a co-leader; his dancing, staccato bass lifting itself out of the bass range as a third melodic voice, completely dominating his own ingenious "Teen Town" (where he also plays drums!). By now, Zawinul has become WR's de facto commander in the studio; his colorful synthesizers dictate the textures, his conceptions are carefully planned, with little of the freewheeling improvisation of only five years before. Wayne Shorter's saxophones are now reticent, if always eloquent, beams of light in Zawinul's general scheme while Alex Acuña shifts ably over to the drums and Manolo Badrena handles the percussion. Released just as the jazz-rock movement began to run out of steam, this landmark album proved that there was plenty of creative life left in the idiom. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 17, 1976 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released March 26, 1991 | Columbia - Legacy

Weather Report's fourth recording finds Wayne Shorter (on soprano and tenor) taking a lesser role as Joe Zawinul begins to really dominate the group's sound. Most selections also include bassist Alphonso Johnson and drummer Ishmael Wilburn although the personnel shifts from track to track. "Nubian Sundance" adds several vocalists while "Blackthorn Rose" is a Shorter-Zawinul duet. Overall the music is pretty stimulating and sometimes adventurous; high-quality fusion from 1974. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released July 23, 1991 | Legacy - Columbia

Here we have the free-floating, abstract beginnings of Weather Report, which would define the state of the electronic jazz/rock art from its first note almost to its last. Their first album is a direct extension of the Miles Davis In a Silent Way/Bitches Brew period, more fluid in sound and more volatile in interplay. Joe Zawinul ruminates in a delicate, liquid manner on Rhodes electric piano; at this early stage, he used a ring modulator to create weird synthesizer-like effects. Wayne Shorter's soprano sax shines like a beacon amidst the swirling ensemble work of co-founding bassist Miroslav Vitous, percussionist Airto Moreira, and drummer Alphonse Mouzon. Zawinul's most memorable theme is "Orange Lady" (previously recorded, though uncredited, by Davis on Big Fun), while Shorter scores on "Tears" and "Eurydice." One of the most impressive debuts of all time by a jazz group. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 17, 1979 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released April 17, 1978 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released September 3, 2013 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released May 8, 2020 | Angel Air

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released June 25, 1985 | Columbia

With de facto leader Joe Zawinul now even more set on a world music groove-oriented direction than ever, it is hard to place Weather Report even within the broad electric jazz -- or fusion, if you must -- category at this point. But forget labels; this is another superb WR album where the grooves percolate and thump along in an irresistible surge, rhythmic elements pouring in from the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East and the instrument designers at Yamaha, Korg, etc. There are more vocals than ever, mostly wordless chant by guests Carl Anderson, Bobby McFerrin and others, and there is a total departure in the form of an attractive folk-like song sung and played by the new percussionist/guitarist Mino Cinelu. Almost alone among synthesizer players, Zawinul took the trouble to learn how to swing on these instruments, and by Sportin' Life, he had become unstoppable. And Wayne Shorter? His beams of light are still around, as heard most hauntingly in a duet with Zawinul's synths on "The Face on the Barroom Floor." Yet Wayne's presence is just another color in Zawinul's multi-band palette, and as a result, their long partnership was coming to a close despite the still sky-high quality of their music. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 17, 1979 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released August 27, 1996 | Columbia - Legacy

Right from the start, a vastly different Weather Report emerges here, one that reflects co-leader Joe Zawinul's developing obsession with the groove. It is the groove that rules this mesmerizing album, leading off with the irresistible 3/4 marathon deceptively tagged as the "Boogie Woogie Waltz" and proceeding through a variety of Latin-grounded hip-shakers. It is a record of discovery for Zawinul, who augments his Rhodes electric piano with a funky wah-wah pedal, unveils the ARP synthesizer as a melodic instrument and sound-effects device, and often coasts along on one chord. The once fiery Wayne Shorter has been tamed, for he now contributes mostly sustained ethereal tunes on soprano sax, his tone sometimes doubled for a pleasing octave effect. The wane of freewheeling ensemble interplay is more than offset by the big increase in rhythmic push; bassist Miroslav Vitous, drummer Eric Gravatt, and percussionist Dom Um Romao are now cogs in one of jazz's great swinging machines. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 19, 1986 | Columbia

The shifts in Weather Report's personnel come fast and furious now, with Narada Michael Walden and Chester Thompson as the drummers, Alex Acuna and Don Alias at the percussion table, and Alphonso Johnson giving way to the mighty, martyred Jaco Pastorius. It is interesting to hear Pastorius expanding the bass role only incrementally over what the more funk-oriented Johnson was doing at this early point -- that is, until "Barbary Coast," where suddenly Jaco leaps athletically forward into the spotlight. Joe Zawinul or just Zawinul, as he preferred to be billed -- contributed all of side one's compositions, mostly Third World-flavored workouts except for "Cannon Ball," a touching tribute to his ex-boss Cannonball Adderley (who had died the year before). Shorter, Pastorius, and Johnson split the remainder of the tracks, with Shorter now set in a long-limbed compositional mode for electric bands that would serve him into the 1990s. While it goes without saying that most Weather Report albums are transition albums, this diverse record is even more transient than most, paving the way for WR's most popular period while retaining the old sense of adventure. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released February 19, 1983 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released September 23, 1999 | Columbia - Legacy

To date, Weather Report has been documented accurately exactly once in a live setting, and that was on a Japanese import called Live in Tokyo in 1972. All of their U.S.-released product, including their double-live set 8:30, was truncated, though it did capture some of the excitement the band was capable of producing at their most effectively intent and focused. Unfortunately, Live and Unreleased goes no further in demystifying the truly mysterious that elemental process that allowed them to move from one idea to the next no matter how far distant, with no apparent bridges in between. Being a collection of tracks from various live dates from 1975-1983, with wildly varying personnel, that cannot be expected. That said, what does transpire here showcases what an intense -- and accessible -- listening experience Weather Report could provide in a concert hall at a moment's notice. One of the more confusing aspects of Live and Unreleased is its sequencing. In trying to showcase the band in as many settings as possible, some continuity is lost. When you begin with a a performance of Wayne Shorter's "Freezing Fire," recorded in 1975, with Alphonso Johnson on bass, Alex Acuna on percussion, and Chester Thompson on drums, then move directly to Shorter's "Plaza Real," recorded in 1983 at a much bigger hall (same city, though, London), with Victor Bailey on bass and Omar Hakim on drums, and then jump back again to Joe Zawinul's "Fast City" from 1980, with Jaco Pastorius on bass and Peter Erskine on drums, you have traveled a long way in the band's evolutionary process without the regard of context. While Zawinul and Shorter were constants and regarded as the band's leaders, no one can question Pastorius' role as a dominating influence as both a player and as a composer -- not to mention his and Zawinul's competitive/conflicting energy. That's missing here. Some moments are more smooth than others, as on disc two's transition from "In a Silent Way/Waterfall," both by Zawinul and recorded in 1978, to the title track from Night Passage, recorded with virtually the same band -- Pastorius and Erskine in the rhythm section -- in 1980 and then on to Shorter's "Port of Entry" from the same date. Here, glimpses are cast into the shadows of the real lightning that could (and often would) strike when the band was -- as most often they were -- on their mettle. And while Live and Unreleased is perhaps true but misleading in the sense of presenting the band at their live best, there is some wonderful and challenging music here, such as Pastorius engaging both Shorter and Zawinul on "Black Market"; the double-timed "Teen Town," with Manolo Badrena acting as a wizard of small percussion; "River People," with Erskine triple timing the beat to get Shorter's solo out from under the bank of Zawinul's keyboards and Pastorius supporting him, the sheer arpeggiattic flights of fancy Zawinul was capable of in mode such as on "In a Silent Way/Waterfall." All of these are wonderful moments in a collection of tracks that has nothing whatsoever to apologize for and is a more than worthy addition to any fan's library. Ultimately, this still leaves room for Legacy to come up with a live Weather Report Box, perhaps documenting the Jaco years. Here's to hoping. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 17, 1982 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released April 19, 1984 | Sony Music Media

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Jazz - Released June 17, 2011 | Art Of Groove

4 stars out of 5 -- "[This] captures an exciting performance by the group during the heady days when Jaco Pastorius played bass for them..." © TiVo
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released May 22, 1990 | Columbia - Legacy

Like the weather itself, this band would assume a new shape with virtually every release -- and this album, half recorded in the studio and half live in Tokyo, set the pattern of change. Exit Airto Moreira and Alphonse Mouzon; enter percussionist Dom Um Romao, drummer Eric Gravatt, and a slew of cameo guests like guitarist Ralph Towner, flutist Hubert Laws, and others. The studio tracks are more biting, more ethnically diverse in influence, and more laden with electronic effects and grandiose structural complexities than before. The live material (heard in full on the import Live in Tokyo) is even fiercer and showcases for the first time some of the tremendous drive WR was capable of, though it doesn't give you much of an idea of its stream of consciousness nature. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo