on 19 December 2007
Zawinul, better known for his later ground-breaking Weather Report years, hints at what's coming with this carefully crafted 1971 debut. Featuring Wayne Shorter and Miroslav Vitous, it's almost the first Weather Report LP in disguise yet this is Zawinul's baby. Herbie Hancock, Joe Chambers and Hubert Laws guest. Pure class. As has been noted elsewhere this is not the best recording quality but I never found a good copy of the vinyl so it's just nice to hear it without the scratches and pressing faults that were on almost every copy of the LP.
The music is very atmospheric, layered and textured especially on the dreamlike 'His Final Journey' and it also features a version of 'In a Silent Way', a tune he composed and made famous on Miles Davis' 'In a Silent Way' album.
This album reveals its genius only in places and perhaps lies outside the interest of the more idle music fan but genius can, after all, be tricky. This album will reward the patient owner. It grows on you.
on 6 June 2006
I own this album on LP, and now I've bought it on CD. But frankly I'm not sure I should have done. The recording quality is very poor in parts -- this is not remastered -- and the ethereal music just seems directionless, compared not just to today's music but also to the Weather Report masterpeices that Zawinul was about to create.
On the plus side, the music swings, occasionally. As per 'Sweetnighter', Miroslav Vitous is backed up by a second bassist. One bows, the other plucks. Unlike Weather Report, the lead instrument is largely a trumpet.
Not bad, but now largely of interest to jazz-rock archaeologists.