It certainly can’t be said about every fusion group, but a lot of Weather Report’s music is timeless and deserves to be celebrated. So Telarc recently released Celebrating the Music of Weather Report, a star-studded tribute to the Zawinul/Shorter brainchild of the 70s and 80s. Following up this effort, a select few of the album’s participants got together for a week-long blowout at New York’s Iridium, across the street from Lincoln Center.
Keyboardist Jason Miles ran the show. He was joined by fellow keyboard man Mike Ricchiuti, guitarist Chuck Loeb, alto/soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Mark Egan, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and acoustic/electric percussion master Mino Cinelu. Winding their way through Weather Report tunes such as "Mysterious Traveler," "Elegant People," "Badia," and "Black Market," these heavy hitters grooved their hearts out and had a blast. Spyro Gyra frontman Jay Beckenstein sat in for "Black Market," partaking in some hellacious three-way trading with Wilson and Loeb.
Tribute bands, by definition, do not break new ground and their appeal is usually quite limited. But what the heck: this was good, clean fun, as well as a reminder to revisit some vinyl that’s been gathering dust for a while.
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