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Weather Report (2) Review
on 21 March 2010
Weather Report - Weather Report
The second and last eponymous Weather Report album recorded with the same line-up as their previous disc - `Night Passage'. This was a first for WR, as all their other recordings had different group members apart from the central players and founders Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter.
`Weather Report' being the last one that Jaco Pastorius appeared leaving to go solo again with his One Truth Band.
This recording demonstrates Report at their peak in that genre of the early 1980s with probably the best group members and an epitaph the way people can play together.
Admittedly, there are similarities to the previous - `Night Passage' in this offering.
Like `Night Passage' this has moved away from the afro percussive sound, returning with nuances of traditional jazz and being a clever move by Zawinul after the `Mr Gone' album not complementing the excellent previous `Heavy Weather' in styles and sales perhaps. Maybe the route he and Shorter had to move into whether it be unintentional or contrived. Clearly, it was not going to happen twice and this work compliments `Passage' perfectly, unlike `Mr Gone' which never did justice to -or with - `Heavy Weather.'
The inclusion of Pastorius since `Black Market' was vital to the line-up and gave the band some pizzazz in their live performances as well and in the studio production process as a co-producer. Having seen them play myself I can vouch for his influence not just in the sound. But the persona. It is a shame his life was cut so tragically short later in that decade.
`Current Affairs' has similarities to Night Passage's `Dream Clock' despite being written by Zawinul and Shorter respectively.
The three-part `NYC' gives a feel to the big band sound and evokes the city's jazz music tradition and very effective with five separate instruments and lasting just over ten minutes, gives the listener an insight to bygone days when Zawinul and Shorter were playing the NYC clubs perhaps..?
It also shows the way Zawinul could orchestrate a band's sound
`When it was now' is a funky rhythm song written by Wayne Shorter of the toe tapping variety and well worth a listen. This is the only Shorter song on the mostly dominated Zawinul recording but Shorter is a great writer in his own right, let's not forget that, and it is a shame he only had this song plus the combined and last group written track - `Dara Factor Two', to his credit. There is nothing penned by Pastorius as a swansong to a great career in this band either.
Closing off with the aforementioned Dara Factor Two, marks the end of a successful and productive period for W.R. fans.
Drummer, Peter Erskine was also to leave along with the forgotten percussionist, Robert Thomas Jr.
Weather Report 2 as I think it ought to be called, has to be treated by its own merits and although it does not have the excellent closing `Madagascar' as on `Night Passage' could have joined with the former album as a double disc package.
The listener should not be too downhearted at a line-up break up, as the band was evolving all the time and yet after peaking in 1977, its potential never wavered or dropped too many notches.
Jazz aficionados of all ages will appreciate Weather Report and especially this one.