WEATHER REPORT — Weather Report (review)

WEATHER REPORT — Weather Report album cover Album · 1971 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Abraxas
In a Silent Way

After the musical exploration that Miles Davis with his ''electric bands'' had achieved, the members that formed these bands decided to explore even further for themselves. One of these seperate groups was Weather Report which featured the alliance between Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter.

From the three classic jazz fusion groups that triumphed in the 70's, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Return to Forever, Weather Report will always be the less recognised and loved by "rock" fans. The obvious reason is that Weather Report never had a guitarist and instead the leading instrument was the saxophone and different aural keyboards, and besides that, they actually never played jazz rock in the manner of Return to Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra which both headed mostly towards rock or funk and in a highly technical way(not that Weather Report weren't capable of pulling off technical music).

Weather Report instead of adventuring further the rock sensibilities that Bitches Brew and A Tribute to Jack Johnson had, they opted to explore further the jazz improvisation essence of those albums, the result being pretty much avant garde fusion similarly like Hancock's Mwandishi trilogy. The apex of this exploration was 1972's I Sing the Body Electric.

As for the debut, from 1971, the band clearly showed which path they had chosen and the result is very much in the vein of In a Silent Way by Miles Davis. Overall a pretty moody album with delicate saxophone notes and mysterious jazzy organ/electric piano bits. However, it's not a totally calm and ambient-esque sea, with Alphonse Mouzon and Miroslav Vitous on the rhythm section, there's some really energetic stuff going on, more akin to Davis' live performances from the time, just not as psychedelic. Also Zawinul's electrically modified Rhodes can be pretty wild, add to that the really fine melodies that Shorter and Joe came with, that's what made it pretty different from Miles' more vague melodic ideas from the time. There's also Airto Moreira contributing exotic percussion which is a real plus.

So, basically, if you're a fan of Miles Davis' 69-71 output, this Weather Report album and I Sing the Body Electric will surely satisfy you after repeated listens. Also there's a chance you'll like more Zawinul & Shorter doing this type of music, than Davis'.
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