Weather Report - S & D

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Don't know why I've never ended up listening to Weather Report, maybe I was swayed by the supposed uncoolness of jazz/funk/fusion. But I think I'd probably like them. What's worth getting and where should I start?

James Ball (James Ball), Monday, 27 January 2003 11:13 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The first one popping to mind for da Searchin' would be Black Market, quite a great rekkid.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Monday, 27 January 2003 14:08 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Someone gave my sister a copy of HEAVY WEATHER when it came out in what? `79 or something? Their version of "Birdland" was pretty cool, if I remember correctly (ps: I know positively fuck-all about jazz, which is probably painfully obvious). Jaco Pastorious played fretless bass on it, which sounded neat-o. Fave Jaco story: according to one biography of his, the manic jazzbo bass wizard once drove a motorcycle into a hotel lobby and promptly passed out and fell off. When they ran over to him after he'd fallen off the bike, they discovered a live octopus on his person. True story.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 27 January 2003 14:35 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

" Their version of "Birdland" ..."

waddya mean, "version"? it's THEIR tune, for fk's sake. written by Papa Zawinul

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Monday, 27 January 2003 14:45 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(sorry for da rude worde. 'm trying to be 'bit more constructive now)

'Black Market' and 'Mysterious Traveller' are evidently amongst their best albums; 'Heavy Weather' and 'Sweetnighter' have several good pieces each (tho' Zaw's claim to having "inveted hip-hop" with '12th Stereet Congress' on the latter is glaringly absurdish).

their first two, 'Weather Report' and 'I Sing The Body Electric' sound rather different (rawer, more unadorned improv-passages) from what was to follow

and i wouldn't dare recommend their 80s recording to anyone

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Monday, 27 January 2003 14:59 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I like everything up to and including Heavy Weather -- some more than others, of course: I was never much taken with Black Market, and parts of Sweetnighter are a bit draggy. But the first self-titled album and Mysterious Traveller are among my favorite albums by anyone ever -- especially the latter: though I've never liked the opening track "Nubian Sundance" that much, the other songs on the album are tremendous, and the further you get into the album the more it turns into this series of incredibly nuanced and textured near-ambient pieces.

Also Side B of I Sing the Body Electric is fantastic -- it's excerpts from a live show in Tokyo 1972. Though they released the full 90-minute concert on Live in Tokyo 1972, I actually much prefer the shortened version -- there are a few Miles Davis-style "jump cut" edits that I think enhance the music tremendously, make it seem wilder and more unpredictable.

The opening track of Tale Spinnin', "The Man in the Green Shirt", is one of the best things Zawinul ever wrote, but the rest of the albums tails off a little (ha ha). On the other hand, I've never been that fond of "Birdland" and -- though I've tried hard to warm up to it -- I really don't like "A Remark You Made" (all I can hear is the cheese), but the rest of Heavy Weather still sounds as fresh today as it did when I first heard it...13, 14 years ago?

After Heavy Weather things start to get really dicey. I haven't actually heard Mr. Gone in its entirety, and it might be good. The live album 8:30 starts out appealingly if you're into the high-speed cokehead side of WR, but that ebbs really fast and the rest of the album doesn't hold my interest at all. Their next one, Night Passage, I actually quite like -- it's a little overblown, but the compositions are more oblique than anything they'd done since the early days, and some of the soloing is first-class stuff. Their final album with Jaco is a second self-titled album -- don't confuse this one with the first one! It's pretty dire -- Zawinul basically took control of the whole band and devoted an album to tedious over-arranged synthesizer workouts.

I've never heard a full album after that one; there might be a jewel buried in there somewhere -- I've heard Procession might have some good bits -- but I can't say I'm optimistic. Better to spend your money on Jaco's Word of Mouth, an album which could be analogized to Pet Sounds, i.e. a heavily arranged album in which a brilliant artist backs off from many of the things he'd been associated with and produces an understated masterpiece. (It's an analogy that's even easier to make given the fact that his next album, Holiday for Pans, did indeed go unreleased, has seen numerous bootleggings, and probably was a little bonkers -- though I strongly prefer Smile to Pet Sounds, so it might be great.)

Anyway, get Mysterious Traveller, see what you think, and if you don't like the first song, skip it: I always do, and it's one of my favorites!

Phil (phil), Monday, 27 January 2003 15:15 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

See, I thought it was their tune (being that it was theirs I heard first....prior to ::::shudder:::: Manhattan Transfer's), but like I said....I don't know dick about jazz. Anyhoo, sorry about that.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 27 January 2003 15:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Sony/Columbia recently brought out a pretty gd single disc remastered 'Best Of' at mid-price, split evenly between Zawinul and Shorter compositions. I find that some of the synth sounds on the later recs are now horribly dated.

Andrew L (Andrew L), Monday, 27 January 2003 19:05 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

True re synth sounds.'Mr Gone' is the only record I've ever acquired where I was unable to get beyond the first five seconds. I like some of the bubblegum shit from their Cheyne-Stokes period tho

dave q, Monday, 27 January 2003 19:26 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

If I ever hear Birdland again I'm gonna go ballistic.

brg30 (brg30), Monday, 27 January 2003 22:23 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the advice, folks, that gives me some ideas.

Any more suggestions?

James Ball (James Ball), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 15:40 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'd definitely start with Mysterious Traveller first; a nice bridge between their earlier, rawer, more experimental albums and their later, slicker albums (that I don't care for too much, including Heavy Weather).

Another good one is I Sing the Body Electric, which has the eerie "Forgotten Soldier" and the beautiful "Second Sunday in August".

Joe (Joe), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 22:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
I'm debating whether to get that 'Best of compilation' if only because it's VERY cheap and has a great cover. Or should I start with something else? 'Heavy Weather'?

Baaderonixx ménage ses forces dans l'attente du Grand Soir (baaderonixx), Monday, 21 November 2005 11:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

My favorite is I Sing the Body Electric, it's more rockin and the crowd noise is practically Cheap Trick at Budokan. The only other I have is Heavy Weather which is good but I hardly ever listen to it.

mcd (mcd), Monday, 21 November 2005 15:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I like the first two and some of the stuff with Jaco, but my two favorite Weather Report albums are Mysterious Traveler and The Sweetnighter.

If the greatest hits doesn't have "Nubian Sundance", then it is missing my favorite Weather Report song. That track is amazing.

earlnash, Monday, 21 November 2005 16:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Sweetnighter is the one to get if you like da funk. I dunno about Zawinul's claim to have invented hip hop with it, but there's plenty o' sampling fodder throughout.

original plagiarist, Tuesday, 22 November 2005 01:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

there's plenty o' sampling fodder throughout.

....a fact that didn't escape the attention of Solex (check out "Rolex by Solex")

chëshy (chëshy f cat), Tuesday, 22 November 2005 02:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


howell huser (chaki), Tuesday, 22 November 2005 03:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


I must obtain posthaste, then. Thanks for the tip, howell.

Dave Segal (Da ve Segal), Tuesday, 22 November 2005 04:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Heavy Weather" and "Black Market" are both great albums.

I wouldn't exactly destroy anything, but the earliest couple of albums were kind of weird....

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Tuesday, 22 November 2005 14:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

eight years pass...

wow "black market"! i had no idea.

Mordy, Sunday, 8 June 2014 21:26 (four years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

I think the popularity of Birdland is one of the most baffling mysteries in music. It sounds like a PhD thesis where the project was to assemble all of the most annoying sounds that could be made by musical instruments on one track.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Saturday, 20 February 2016 03:08 (two years ago) Permalink

Plus it has the most awkward groove, a bad 1970s electric swing moment, and that terrible frenzied double drumming at the end

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Saturday, 20 February 2016 03:09 (two years ago) Permalink

Gawd I dislike it. It sounds like Chip Davis. There's a ridiculous Manhattan Transfer live rendition on YouTube, if you feel like feeling things.

lute bro (brimstead), Saturday, 20 February 2016 05:08 (two years ago) Permalink

*bow bow bow! bow bow bowBOW!*

lute bro (brimstead), Saturday, 20 February 2016 05:09 (two years ago) Permalink

Weather Report were really good until Jaco Pastorius came along. There, I said it.

the top man in the language department (誤訳侮辱), Saturday, 20 February 2016 12:42 (two years ago) Permalink

The other night read the first chapter or so of Peter Erskine's book and it was hilarious.

Thank You For Cosmic Jive Talkin' (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 February 2016 14:40 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Live in Tokyo, holy shit. This album never disappoints, never fails to surprise. The best thing they ever did.

Taking dumps on a person's car is something children do (Sparkle Motion), Sunday, 5 June 2016 19:48 (two years ago) Permalink

I agree w Phil about Mysterious Traveler, which made the biggest and best impression on me. Also check Zawinul's s/t solo album, incl. "In A Silent Way," which he wrote. I read that it was based on memories of being a shepherd boy in the misty mountains of Austria.

dow, Sunday, 5 June 2016 21:20 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

"jungle book" is so good. mysterious traveler is next level

reggie (qualmsley), Friday, 12 January 2018 18:59 (one year ago) Permalink

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