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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Weather Report: Heavy Weather

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Weather Report were one of the earliest jazz fusion groups to emerge at the beginning of the '70s. They were rare in that, like Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, they didn't have a guitarist to light the fire and excite the audience as was the case with Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever; instead, they relied, in addition to pure instrumental virtuosity, upon intelligent compositions. The band's founding members were none other than Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, two exceptional musicians who ...

PROFILES

Claude Nobs: We All Came Out To Montreux...

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Montreux Jazz Festival is fifty. It's a significant milestone and cause for celebration. No doubt there will be an added festive element to this year's edition of the festival, founded by Claude Nobs--along with pianist Géo Voumard and writer René Langel--in 1967. Yet for many, the celebrations will be tinged with sadness due to the absence of Nobs, who died in a skiing accident in 2013. Nobs may have passed, but his legend, his spirit, lives on, in the festival ...

SPIRIT OF '76

Weather Report Goes to the "Black Market" and Finds a Superstar

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As Weather Report returned to the studio to cut their next album the band was yet again in flux. Gone from 1975's Tale Spinnin' line up were percussionist Alyrio Lima and drummer Ndugu Leon Chancler. Zawinul explained the latest comings-and-goings in a 1976 interview, “We're always happy with the group, because if we're not happy, we change it. There are a lot of musicians out there in the world. All the people who have played with us are ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Weather Report: The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981

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The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981 is a stellar package of Weather Report concert recordings focusing on that phase of this groundbreaking group's career where they were truly rock stars visiting from a jazz world. It stands as further affirmation of the constant change implied in their name as much as their continual transcendence of the jazz-rock fusion genre. The unusual size and shape of the 5.5 x 6 inch package thus stands as a very metaphor of Weather ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Weather Report: The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981

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While live documents from Weather Report's 16-year run continue to be unearthed, and while live albums have previously documented the group's 1978 tour, there's been precious little from its final tours of 1980/81, when the group returned more decidedly to its jazz roots with one of the best albums in its discography, 1980's Night Passage. Only keyboardist Joe Zawinul's “Fast City" and saxophonist Wayne Shorter's “Port of Entry," for example, made it onto 2002's Live and Unreleased (Columbia). Thanks, however, ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Fusion

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This article was originally published in 2003. Since the early 1970s, fusion music has served as an appreciable back door for people seeking an entry into the complexities of jazz. The term “fusion" refers to the blending together of jazz, rock, world music, classical, or other influences into a concrete whole. Most often it's applied to a form of music also known as “jazz-rock," which first gained wide popularity with Miles Davis' electric-jazz experiments in the late 60s. ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Weather Report: Live in Germany 1971

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Weather Report Live in Germany 1971 MVD/Gonzo Distribution 2010 While technology has made audio and video recording a much easier thing in the 21st century, there's still the problem of where to broadcast it. Sure, there's the internet, and YouTube, for example, has become a treasure trove of archival live footage from bands that might otherwise have been forgotten. But it's chaos, with no real order or theme to the footage--just an overwhelming amount that, ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Weather Report: Live at Montreux 1976

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Weather ReportLive at Montreux 1976 Eagle Eye Media 2007 When '70s fusion group Weather Report played the Montreux Festival in 1976, it was on the cusp of the wider popularity it would receive the following year with the release of its best-selling album Heavy Weather (Legacy, 1977). From then on the group would adopt a grander, larger-than-life rock aesthetic in performance that included a massive sound system, sophisticated light show, smoke on the stage...all the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Weather Report: Forecast: Tomorrow

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There is no question that Weather Report, the brainchild of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter formed hot on the heels of Bitches Brew, deserves this long-overdue box set. The group's first few albums defied and established classifications whose reverberations are felt to this day. But first, a two-headed complaint: Why are we only given two unreleased tracks out of 37 total? And why only a three-disc set? Zawinul and Shorter were involved in the selection of these ...


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