Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on 2 March 2011
I really can't agree with the reviews of most of the Weather Report releases, but I disagree with these more than most!
Black Market is a transitional album. Pastorius is half in the band, Alphonso Johnson is half out. Neither of the drummers on this album are nimble enough; Chester Thompson is marginally better than Narada Michael Walden, but neither of them are ever to be seen again on Weather Report studio albums. On Black Market Zawinul and Shorter are basically auditioning new members, and in the meantime the playing feels very studio indeed. Overproduced, less than fresh, with clunky changes in time signature that feel forced rather than organic. On Herandnu in particular, I've always thought that the changes in time signature are actually edits hidden under judiciously applied cymbal splashes.
The live version of Black Market on 8.30 is better - I also prefer the 8.30 version of Scarlet Woman (from Mysterious Traveller); Weather Report are at their best when their constantly changing line-ups have settled in for at least one album, and all of the (usually) five musicians have got to know each other. Then things get slippery.
Black Market is one of the least satisfying albums they ever recorded. But no Weather Report album, on the other hand, is completely worthless. Download Elegant People and leave the rest of this album on the shelf.