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Weather Report

Inception and formation

Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter first met and became friends in 1959 while they were playing in Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band. Zawinul went on to play with Cannonball Adderley’s group in the 1960s, while Shorter joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and then, in 1964, Miles Davis’ second great quintet. During this decade, both men made names for themselves as being among the best composers in jazz.

Zawinul would later join Shorter in contributing to the initial fusion music recordings of Miles Davis, and both men were part of the studio groups, which recorded the key Davis albums In a Silent Way (1969) and Bitches Brew (1970). In consequence, Weather Report has often been seen as a spin-off from the Miles Davis bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s, although Zawinul was never part of Davis’s touring line-up. Weather Report was initially formed in order to explore a more impressionistic and individualistic music (or, as Zawinul put it, “away from all that eight bars shit and then you go to the bridge…”)

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Joe Downard: Seven Japanese Tales

Read "Seven Japanese Tales" reviewed by Chris May

Up-and-coming London bassist Joe Downard's debut album is an ambitious affair which winningly blends intricate soundscapes created by retro-modern analog synthesisers with the two-horns-and-a-rhythm-section acoustic jazz tradition. Downard's sextet includes five other rising stars of the London scene, prominent among them trumpeter James Copus, tenor saxophonist Alex Hitchcock (whose self-titled album debut with his band AuB ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Gergo Borlai: The Missing Song

Read "The Missing Song" reviewed by Jim Worsley

The Missing Song has been heralded as a tribute to Gergo Borlai's nine most influential drummers still alive and performing today. This is much more than just listing them and perhaps covering one of their songs. Borlai composed eight of the nine new songs on this album. He plays them all in the manner, or mindset, ...

Composer Tributes: Strayhorn, Shorter, Monk and Sam Jones

Read "Composer Tributes: Strayhorn, Shorter, Monk and Sam Jones" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

There always seem to be albums coming out that pay tribute to accomplished jazz composers. Here are some newer ones, three on very familiar names and one on an often overlooked musician. John Di Martino Passion Flower: The Music of Billy Strayhorn Sunnyside Records 2020 Pianist John ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: The Music of Wayne Shorter

Read "The Music of Wayne Shorter" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

As a saxophonist, founding member of Weather Report and member of Miles Davis' second great acoustic quintet, it won't be hard to find Wayne Shorter's name in the pages of modern jazz history. But the massive The Music of Wayne Shorter highlights a sometimes-overlooked element of Shorter's musicianship: His ability to compose, which has contributed “Footprints," ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Clean Feed’s Latest Releases

Read "Clean Feed’s Latest Releases" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

This episode digs into a number of fine new releases from Clean Feed Records. You'll hear tracks from the Simon Nabatov Quintet, the Scandinavian group Inland Empire (featuring Kris Davis), legendary singer Patty Waters, pianist Kaja Draksler, and the hard-nosed Luis Lopes Humanization Quartet (featuring saxophonist Rodrigo Amado). Also new is the Itaca 4et, a joint ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

MY IRIS: MY IRIS Live!

Read "MY IRIS Live!" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Unable to undertake its scheduled April tour due to COVID 19, MY IRIS, the quartet led by saxophonist Trish Clowes, releases this live recording culled from gigs in Belfast and Galway in October 2019. Captured on Zoom recorder, Clewes has done an admirable job in producing a presentable sound on this digital-download, Bandcamp release. More importantly, ...

Innervisions, Improvisations and Other Jazz Fevers

Read "Innervisions, Improvisations and Other Jazz Fevers" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Lili Añel Better Days Winding Way Records 2019 Singer-songwriter Lili Añel and Better Days sound cut straight out of the northeast US. It's more than the geographic location of Añel's birth (Spanish Harlem, “El Barrio," in New York) or raised (South Bronx), and it's more than ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Weather Report - Zawinul, Shorter, Pastorius (1971 - 1976)

Read "Weather Report - Zawinul, Shorter, Pastorius (1971 - 1976)" reviewed by Russell Perry

By 1970, Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul were recognized as two of the finest hard bop composers and players having contributed the full range of their talents to The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis Quintet (in Shorter's case) and the Cannonball Adderley Quintet (in Zawinul's). Both contributed to Davis' Bitches Brew sessions and in 1971 formed ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Jon Hassell: Words with the Shaman

Read "Jon Hassell: Words with the Shaman" reviewed by Chris May

Jon Hassell is best known as the creator of Fourth World music, an acoustic-electronic blend of jazz, minimalism, drone, ambient, traditional African and Asian instruments and harmolodic signatures. Hassell has defined Fourth World as “serious music with transcultural appeal and a smile." He unveiled the concept on his debut album, Vernal Equinox (Lovely Records), in 1977. ...


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