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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
11
Mr. Gone
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 13 January 2006
This album has a lot of variety and contains some fantastic tracks, but I'll talk speicfically about two songs on it.
Punk Jazz contains one of Jaco Pastorius' most famous bass solos, a one of a kind tour de force of bass playing lyricism and originality.
This song also contains one of the best and most original soprano sax solos of its time, Wayne Shorter is on peak form here. After the intro the track goes into a beautiful and subtle chord sequence mixed with intricate patterns of dynamics and tasty motifs.
Another highlight is the song Mr. Gone. This shows Joe Zawinul doing some brilliant, quirky and atmospheric synth playing - a classic of originality.
This is one of the albums where Jaco Pastorius defines a whole new way of playing the bass, a whole new sound, with horn like lines and phrasing so full of the originality that made him a legend.
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on 17 February 2003
The liner notes accompanying the Sony CD issue of "Mr Gone" make out that the album was not well received at the time of its original relaese. That surprised me because I clearly remember its being voted album of the year 1978 by several Melody Maker journalists. Anyway, the reason given by the liner-notewright for the album's poor reception is that it was perceived as representing Joe Zawinul's - and, more particularly, Jaco Pastorius's - wholesale selling-out to the seventies' commercial behemoth of disco. There's a nugget of truth in that - as there is for the same criticism's being levelled at Herbie Hancock's later effort, "Mr Hands" - but it is still a long way from being an accurate summation. While there are handclaps galore and a definite disco production feel, the compositions and the playing are more than strong enough to carry the production.
The opening "The Pursuit of the Woman in the Feathered Hat" is a natural progression from the groove-driven funk of "Black Market" but differs in the construction, being made up, as it is, of innumerable synthesizer tracks weaving around the solid rhythm. It's been said that "Mr Gone" was a Zawinul solo album in all but name and it must be admitted that the balance of Zawinul and Shorter on the album is seriously dominated by the former. "River People" is pure funk and attracted most of the opprobium that was directed at its composer, Jaco Pastorius. However, there's funk and there's funk: "River People" is in the camp with Hancock's "Just Around the Corner", oblivious to the plethora of worthless studio-manufactured junk that was called funk in the late seventies. My favourite track, Young & Fine" is the liner-notewright's least favourite, which is difficult to understand as it is the track that features Wayne Shorter most prominently and at his best. The groove never lets up as Zawinul wanders off along tangential paths and somehow always manages to get back onto the main path just in time to meet Wayne Shorter's next melodic departure. "The Elders" closed side one of the vinyl pressing with a delicate, multi-layered synth & sax interplay.
"Side two" opens with the album's two weakest tracks, "Mr Gone" and "Punk Jazz". The former features an endlessly repeated sax phrase that begins to grate less than half way through the track's fairly short length. "Punk Jazz" has an impressive intro that promises immeasurably more than the tune ultimately delivers. Wayne Shorter's "Pinocchio" follows and just about works in a form that's markedly different from its previous performances by Miles Davis. "And Then" closes the album on a fairly low note, with Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White supplying the vocals for a lacklustre and directionless song.
Even though the last four tracks are a disappointment after the first four, "Mr Gone" is still a wonderful album. Even if you ignore the layers and layers of synths and the sometimes subdued sax, the album is irresistible for the rhythms alone. It's not Weather Reports's best album - not by a long way - but it's still better than almost anything that the punk-shocked rock world or the formula-driven soul & jazz world could produce at the time. And it still sounds good.
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on 15 September 2006
Mr. Gone never enjoyed the deserved critical and commercial success of Heavy Weather, nor ever explored the depths of mood or groove that early albums as I Sing The Body Electric or Sweetnighter explored, yet it offered much great music that should have entitled it to more praise.

By then, 1978, the band had found their existence difficult to maintain. Zawinul and Shorter were clearly on to separate paths--along with Joe having a strong grip on the band's choice of material--and Jaco's mental illness and drug abuse was almost hitting unworkable levels.

Yet, they were still one of the most gifted groups of musicians that had ever joined forces--both as players and composers--and this album proves that the magic had not completely faded away.

The late Pastorious offers one of his classics, Punk Jazz, which along with his other composition, River People, continued to prove his immense melodic talent and unimaginable skill, alongside the amazing swing of guest--may he be blessed whatever part of heaven he's holding the beat at--Tony Williams.

For his part, Wayne Shorter, writes to great tunes, the legendary although brief Pinocchio and the dark The Elders--played exclusively by WR's nucleus of Zawinul, Pastorious and himself--while Zawinul delights with the gorgeous Young And Fine, and And Then, a proper farewell sung by the wonderful EWF's Maurice White.

All in all, not a classic--primarily due to the strength and beauty of prior albums--yet a trove of treasures worthy of these men. You do not have to be a completist to seek this album, although if Weather Report is not a band you know well it may not be the most representative nor stellar place to start.
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on 5 February 2017
Mr. Gone, was and is one of my favourite WR albums and after all these many years still listen to it and some parts of it transports me into the imaginary places that I built over the years listening to, perhaps the most psychedelic of Weather Report albums...and Jaco Pastorious is at his best.

A touch of nostalgia...
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on 22 August 2011
Coming as it did after the career defining Heavy Weatherthis was bound to be a disappointment. There is a tendency to over orchestrate in places and it does take a dip in quality in the second half. Having said all that there is much to enjoy here; I would only agree with The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings: Ninth Edition that it is the band's worst album in as much as their quality was generally so high; even if all their albums were great there is bound to be some rank ordering. Be wary of dismissing this album as although I would recommend a Weather Report novice to start elsewhere I would not go as far as to say to avoid it.

A good album from a band who taught us to expect brilliance
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on 13 April 2012
Following on from the previous album, the seminal 'Heavy Weather', was always going to be a tough job.
Here though, Weather Report do themselves justice; with Joe Zawinul's electronic orchestrations dominating, Wayne Shorter's sax filling and complementing the sound, rather than coming to the fore as you would expect with previous works. Jaco Pastorius does his thing - sometimes playing a different melody from what you'd expect from the bass lines. Disco beats abound (though I really do wonder if any of this album was heard amongst the glitterballs and gyrating hips).
Jazz meets groove meets studio experimentation; there is that 'other-wordliness' of Zawinul's sound running throughout, it is saved by some driving drum rhythms (courtesy of three different drummers - Steve Gadd, Tony Williams and Peter Erskine - bringing different textures to their respective tracks). Jaco is Jaco, on this album you can hear his follow-up to 'Teen Town' - 'Punk Jazz', and there are hints at the direction he was going to take when he was to leave Weather Report (it's the only track where Wayne Shorter is allowed to blow, by the way).
The final track has Deniece Williams and Maurice White on vocals; a sweet tune that is all too short and shows where Weather Report was headed if they ever decided to release a more commercial sound.
I like it, and it is part of the Weather Report canon, but it ain't the smash follow-up you might expect it to be.
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on 1 April 2014
I would recommend this to others, listened to the music years ago was very refreshing to hear it again today
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on 26 August 2014
Weather Report at their height. So laid back they're in the Challenger Deep.
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on 3 November 2009
Stunning stuff.

I just cannot get enough of Weather Report!!!!
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on 15 October 2015
typical weather report wonderful
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