If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
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Selected from seven albums that were recorded between 1973 and 1980, Columbia's "best of" collection of Weather Report hits makes a memorable impression. The band will never be forgotten. Throughout its 15-year existence, the jazz-rock fusion band regularly stirred a large body of emotions through its unique sound. No one else had that particular combination, which was born from tradition, full of innovation, and far from being too smooth. Wayne Shorter's natural saxophone tone casually rubbed elbows with Joe Zawinul's new-sounding keyboard imitations over a consistent backdrop of rock-rhythmic juice. Repetition played a major role, as bongos, bass, and numerous alien sounds entered the arena. Stretching out became standard fare.
Jaco Pastorius is represented quite well on four tracks, and powerful percussionists drive the album, while leaders Shorter and Zawinul interpret their own compositions with swing and spontaneity. As pioneers, they succeeded in convincing several generations that it was time to open the ears and consider how best to implement new changes in keyboard technology. Jazz has been polarized somewhat since then, but the spirit hasn't left. We still look for fresh, exciting answers. We still admire impressions that seem to come from exotic cultures and distant continents. And, we still look to the future for more changes in a growing art. When we hear Zawinul's "Birdland," we recognize that big things have been happening in the past 40 years; big things that everyone remembers. The movement that Shorter and Zawinul pioneered continues to spread today through other organizations. Few, however, do it so well.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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