Thursday, October 18, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 72: Weather Report - Heavy Weather



Album - Heavy Weather
Artist - Weather Report
Key Players - Joe Zawinul - electric piano, piano, synthesizer, vocal, melodica, guitar, tabla, Wayne Shorter - Soprano and tenor saxophones, Jaco Pastorius - Electric bass, mandocello, vocals, drums, steel drums, Alex Acuna - drums, congas, tom toms, handclap, Manolo Badrena -Tambourine, congas, vocal, timbales, percussion

Produced By - Joe Zawinul and Jaco Pastorius

Release Date - 1977

What caused me to blow off the dust? – For some reason I have been in a jazz fusion mood the last few weeks. I looked at the few jazz cds I own and decided to grab one that had not been listened to in a bit (sadly there were too many) but this one stood out. I grabbed it initially when I was in a heavy Jaco Pastorius phase.

Overview – Weather Report were a popular jazz fusion group of the 1970s. The band was originally and idea of Miles Davis and it would begin a long tenure as a groundbreaking band of talented musicians. Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter were two fo the longest running members (the two that actually decided to end it all as well). Heavy Weather would be one of the bigger selling jazz fusion albums of all time.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Once you hear "Birdland" (see download) you’ll say “oh yeah I have heard this before”. The track establishes the overall vibe of the record with stellar musicianship. Pastorius has some intricate bass fills, on this, his second record with Weather Report. Shorters sax work is also a stand out. Zawinul opens with some cascading piano on “A Remark You Made" which is then followed up with Shorter playing a soulful intro. For a jazz fusion record this is actually a little on the mellow side of things. "Teen Town" has a more fun feel and is lead by Jaco’s bass lines. Shorter plays only subtle notes here and there to compliment Acunas tight drum work. "Harlequin" has more synthesizer than any prior track. It has a “wavy” sound over the top and Shorter again layers sax lines over but then you notice the piano stand out a little more. Opening to give you a feel of a live record "Rumba Mamá" is covered with clapping and cheering. This is really pretty much a drum solo track. "Palladíum" has a real fusion feel from the outset. A lot of stop/start time, grooving bass, sax layered over and the piano playing some single notes. Its has a great feel and is easy for someone who is not a jazz person to better identify with. "The Juggler" is also another, less chaotic, jazz track. The keyboards have a certain vibe to them on this track. Zawiul does not over do much on this track but uses a few tools on the track. He is not committed to one sound or instrument. Shorter gets a little action around the two minute mark. The album closes out with "Havona", a track that showcases all the players in their full glory. Jaco wrote it so he really excel ls, but Shorter is no slouch on the sax parts. A decent album closer for sure.


Where are they now? - This jazz ensemble had a lot of members. To keep it simpler, and release specific, we shall cover the members on Zawinul passed away on September 11, 2007. He was hospitalized after a tour and died of a rare form of skin cancer. Wayne Shorter continues to perform. Jaco Pastorius, one of the most celebrated jazz bass players in history battled drug problems and bipolar disorder. His final day is clouded in mystery, but Jaco was on the end of a severe beating outside a bar and was knocked in to a coma. His family decided to remove him from life support and he died on September 21, 1987. Acuna has continued to work and also has been a teacher at various music schools, he continues to tour. Badrea is active in a band called Trio Mundo

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – Weather Report disbanded in 1986, well before my time as a fan of the jazz genre. I still have hope to see some surviving members on their other projects.


FDF Overall Take – Jazz fusion was a big deal in the 1970s’. The 80s’ saw stark changes to the musical landscape and the band struggled, but were very accomplished musicians. Jazz was and still is huge overseas (Japan and Eurpoe) that fans will always have something exciting and new to listen to. Weather Report for a long time running were a testament to the bounds that could be pushed musically and they succeeded on many levels.

Links

Weather Report on myspace
Alex Acuna on myspace
Trio Mundo
Wayne Shorter on wiki
Official page for Jaco Pastorius

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's have been removed***

Birdland
Palladium

You can buy a copy here as well as
here for starters.

.Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request

1 Comments:

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Ello said...

You are branching out! Typically I am not the type to go out and buy any kind of jazz but I don't mind it when it is playing and I'm around it. It's not a love of mine but I can enjoy it. Good review. ONe of your strengths as a reviewer is that you make the reader want to go and hear the music because of how well you described it. So even though I'm not a jazz fan, I'm going to go listen in on some tunes just to get the feel you've explained!

 

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