WEATHER REPORT — Domino Theory

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WEATHER REPORT - Domino Theory cover
3.44 | 12 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1984

Filed under Fusion


A1 Can It Be Done 3:59
A2 D♭ Waltz 11:09
A3 The Peasant 8:13
B1 Predator 5:14
B2 Blue Sound - Note 3 6:48
B3 Swamp Cabbage 5:19
B4 Domino Theory 6:08

Total Time: 45:40


Josef Zawinul - keyboards and synthesizers
Wayne Shorter - saxophones
Omar Hakim - drums
Victor Bailey - bass
José Rossy - percussion
Carl Anderson - vocals on "Can It Be Done"

About this release

Columbia ‎– FC 39147 (US)

Recorded at Kosei Nenkin Hall (Osaka, Japan), The Music Room, (Pasadena, California) and The Sound Castle (Los Feliz, California).

Thanks to snobb, Abraxas for the updates


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Members reviews

"Domino Theory" is the 12th full-length studio album by US jazz/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia Records in February 1984. It´s the successor to "Procession" from 1983 and features the same quintet lineup who recorded the predecessor.

"Procession" was the first Weather Report to more prominently feature vocals and lyrics, although the band had made brief experiments with vocals on earlier releases too. The trend to include vocals continues on "Domino Theory", which opens with the stunning "Can It Be Done" (sung by Carl Anderson), but Weather Report have not abandoned their jazz/fusion instrumental work, which is as impressive as ever on the 11:10 minutes long "Db Waltz", which follows. That track also features brief moments with vocals, but no lyrics. We´re treated to funky and jazzy rhythms and bass work, Wayne Shorter´s exciting saxophone playing, and Joe Zawinul´s always intriguing and creative use of keyboards/synths.

While some of the material are quite brilliant, there are other times when I don´t think Weather Report quite hits the mark. "The Peasant" is for example unnecessarily long and becomes a little tedious with its ambient sound, and few climaxes. "Predator" features a lot of nice rhythmic playing, but it´s also a track which isn´t really leading to anywhere. The same can unfortunately be said about "Blue Sound Note 3", which is a relatively experimental affair, but again lacking direction and catchiness, until about 5 minutes in, when some melancholic saxophone melodies come in to save the day. "Swamp Cabbage" is decent enough, but not exactly a mind blowing track. I like the dark and haunting atmosphere of the title track, but it´s another ambient track, and "Domino Theory" could definitely have been a little more interesting with fewer ambient moments.

"Domino Theory" features a detailed, organic, and well sounding production. Some people may not appreciate some of the 80s synths choices, but Zawinul is a master of his craft, and anything he touches is at least interesting to listen to. Upon conclusion "Domino Theory" isn´t the greatest release by Weather Report. It starts out strong with "Can It Be Done" and "Db Waltz", which to my ears are the two best quality tracks on the album, but from then on the highlights are few and far between. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.
Domino Theory continues in the same vein of slick Jazz/Fusion as Weather Report's previous album, Procession. The line up remains the same and fans of Procession will find much to enjoy here too.

Can it be done opens the album with an atmospheric Keyboard dominated start before turning into a smooth Jazz Vocal track featuring guest Vocalist Carl Anderson. Pleasant enough it is but much better is Db Waltz which follows. Driven along by Omar Hakim's superb Drumming this track really kicks ass. Stabby Keyboard parts, smooth Bass and rich Saxophone with a few scat style Vocals thrown in for good measure. The band take it down a couple times before exploding again with full force, this really is an excellent piece that'll have you hitting the replay button.

The Peasant brings things down somewhat being much more subdued having an almost Indian vibe to it. It's an atmospheric piece which although quite enjoyable outstays its welcome a little at just over eight minutes long.

Predator opens side 2 of the original vinyl version with its offbeat rhythmic structure though its still played in 4/4. Omar Hakims Drumming shines again, embelished by Jose' Rossy on Percussion though a tip of the hat also goes to Joe Zawinul for his interesting Keyboard textures, Victor Bailey for some nice Fretless Bass work and Wayne Shorter for his never less than excellent Sax playing.

Blue Sound Note 3 starts off atmospherically before a build only to be taken right down again in the mid section full of Zawinul's interesting keyboard textures. Swamp Cabbage is more upbeat with its insistant 6/8 rhythm and one of my favourite tracks on the album. The title track, Domino Theory closes and features some excellent Bass from Bailey underscored by Hakim's once again excellent Drumming, mainly Hi-hat and Bass Drum at the start building with a few well placed snare beats and heavy use of China cymbal later, Shorter's Sax not really making it's prescence felt until later and Zawinul also taking a back seat providing sympathetic keyboard textures.

So if you enjoyed previous album Procession then you may want to add this to your collection. Though Domino Theory is a very good album it doesn't quite match its predecessor for quality. Another killer track like Db Waltz might have just lifted it to be its equal but still worthy of 3 ½ stars.

Ratings only

  • wthii
  • lunarston
  • KK58
  • Lock24
  • DocB
  • Lynx33
  • historian9
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • Drummer
  • rigoboy

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