Read an excerpt from the March issue of the Los Angeles Jazz Scene which talks about the new Weather Report 4-Disc set.
JAZZ AROUND TOWN
By Scott Yanow
NEW WEATHER REPORT
Weather Report was the longest lasting of the major fusion groups, surviving for 16 years (1970-86). Co-led by keyboardist Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter (soprano and tenor), it started out as an almost avant-garde electric group. Weather Report found its way when Alphonso Johnson was its bassist; he added grooves to the band’s sound. Weather Report was at its height during 1976-81 when Jaco Pastorius was its electric bassist. By 1978, Peter Erskine had become its permanent drummer and the band had a major hit in “Birdland.”
The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-81 is a four-CD set of previously unreleased concert performances. Percussionist Robert Thomas Jr. is with the group on two of the CDs but otherwise it is the classic quartet. To say that this is a major release would be an understatement. These live versions of Weather Report’s repertoire of the era often top the studio renditions by having higher energy, longer solos, and exciting ensembles. Each of the musicians get solo features (Pastorius’ are typically stunning) and there are new and stirring versions of such songs as “Sightseeing,” “Three Views Of A Secret,” “Birdland,” “A Remark You Made,” “Night Passage,” Duke Ellington’s “Rockin’ In Rhythm,” “Black Market,” “Teen Town” and a 21-minute “Gibraltar.” The music is well-recorded, the band was clearly inspired by playing before large audiences, and the attractive booklet has extensive liner notes by Peter Erskine.
This box, available from www.legacyrecordings.com, is a must for anyone interested in Weather Report and classic fusion.