135

Various: Celebrating the Music of Weather Report

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
The 31 musicians who appear on this tribute album deliver upbeat yet shifty interpretations of compositions by Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and the parade of musicians who comprised Weather Report from 1970 to 1985. Those paying tribute constitute a fusion who's who. For starters, there's Joe Sample, John Scofield, the Breckers, David Sanborn, Dennis Chambers, Andy Narell, John Patitucci, Dean Brown and ex-Weathermen Victor Bailey, Steve Gadd and Omar Hakim.

The glue that holds this collection together is Jason Miles, best known for his work with George Benson, Miles Davis ( Tutu ) and numerous contemporary R&B singers. Miles is a talented keyboardist and producer, but he's no Joe Zawinul. His synthesizers lend some tracks a sunny luster more suited to pop music than global fusion. But let’s cut the dude some slack – it’s a huge task trying to re-interpret the rich textures and shifting rhythms conceived by Zawinul and Shorter, and Miles’ versions are wonderfully accessible.

The music here brings to mind a really good Spyro Gyra album more than a new Weather Report release. Still, there haven't been many really good Spyro Gyra albums, and who wants to hear a Weather Report knock-off? The talent assembled here is enough to make any fusion fan drool, and I can't complain about a fresh take on some classic electric jazz.

The 11 tracks span Weather Report’s 15-year history. Best performances include Mary Fahl’s ethereal vocals on "Badia," Andy Narell’s masterful steel drumming on "Young and Fine," Mike Brecker's beautiful blowing on "Elegant People," and Miles’ cinematic Middle Eastern arrangement of "Pursuit of the Woman with the Feathered Hat." There’s also a radio friendly take on "Birdland" that doesn’t deviate much from the original.

Prediction: More than a few mainstream jazz critics will pan Celebrating because of the synthesizers. Prediction 2: Most fusion fans will love Celebrating because of the synthesizers. I fall in the latter camp. One caveat, however: If you don't like synthesizers, don't even bother.

| Record Label: Telarc Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "My Head is Listening" CD/LP/Track Review My Head is Listening
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Hibernation" CD/LP/Track Review Hibernation
by John Eyles
Published: March 14, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "The Ludwigsburg Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Ludwigsburg Concert
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Pale White Shout" CD/LP/Track Review Pale White Shout
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!