The great Czech bassist returns once more to the music of Weather Report, the group he co-founded with Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter in 1970. It’s the improvisational freedom of the early Weather Report that most interests Vitous, and he abides by their old rallying call “everyone solos and no one solos”. Well-known Report repertoire re-explored includes “Birdland”, “Seventh Arrow”, “Scarlet Woman”, “Pinocchio” and “Morning Lake” and Miroslav’s group also plays “Acrobat’s Issues” a piece which the first Weather Report line-up played but didn’t record.
This double-CD has 24 different groups of fusion musicians (including some from Europe) paying tribute to Weather Report. Despite the personnel and often the instrumentation changing from track to track, there is a unity to the project and many of the bands sound quite a bit like Weather Report, either purposely as part of the tribute or naturally. The programming is somewhat random and the bands bring back the sound, grooves, and spirits of Weather Report rather than necessarily always sticking to their compositions. All in all, this is a heartfelt and very well-played tribute that can also serve as an introduction to a cross-section of some of today's top fusion musicians, many of whom are not household names yet.
Weather Report is generally regarded as the greatest jazz fusion band of all time, with the biggest jazz hit ("Birdland") from the best jazz fusion album (1977's Heavy Weather). But the group's studio mastery sometimes overshadows the fact that it was also a live juggernaut – so don't overlook the outstanding live and studio album from 1979, 8:30. This was a rare quartet version of Weather Report, with co-leaders in keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. The bassist was the inimitable Jaco Pastorius, the drummer a young Peter Erskine. Pastorius is otherworldly on early gems like "Black Market," the breakneck "Teen Town," and his solo showcase, "Slang" (in which he quotes Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun"). Shorter is most involved on the CD's slower pieces like "A Remark You Made," "In a Silent Way," and his own solo piece, "Thanks for the Memory"; Zawinul and Erskine shine on the swinging version of "Birdland" and roller coaster ride of the "Badia/Boogie Woogie Waltz" medley. Four studio tracks (composing what was side four of the original album version) close 8:30 with a flourish – and some surprises.
Miroslav Vitous is best known as one of the foremost young bassists in the jazz-rock movement of the late 60's and early 70's. He was a founding member of Weather Report and made numerous solo albums. This album, Magical Shepherd, is making its worldwide CD debut. It features such jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette & Airto Moreira. It was originally issued on LP in 1976 on Warner Brothers.
Reissue with DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. A Japanese-only album from Weather Report – recorded early in the group's career, and with some of the same sort of freedoms that Miles Davis was getting on his own double-length dates from Japan! The tracks here are quite stretched out, and often adventurous – showing a marked ability to jam heavily at one moment, get contemplative the next, and continually explore sounds on the frontiers of fusion in the 70s. The group's the "second chapter" Weather Report – with Wayne Shorter on reeds, Joe Zawinul on keyboards, Miroslav Vitous on bass, Eric Gravatt on drums, and Dom Um Romao on percussion – and titles include "Orange Lady", "Vertical Invader/Seventh Arrow/TH", "Surucucu/Lost/Early Minor/Direction", and "Tears/Umbrellas".
Reissue with DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Here we have the free-floating, abstract beginnings of Weather Report, which would define the state of the electronic jazz/rock art from its first note almost to its last. Their first album is a direct extension of the Miles Davis In a Silent Way/Bitches Brew period, more fluid in sound and more volatile in interplay. Joe Zawinul ruminates in a delicate, liquid manner on Rhodes electric piano; at this early stage, he used a ring modulator to create weird synthesizer-like effects.
"I don't know what the next record will be," Josef Zawinul said in the summer of 1972, "but it'll be something else! We've been learning every night, and we're still growing."Indeed, Sweetnighter was something else. Zawinul began to assert greater control of band, steering it away from the collective improvisation that marked its live performances toward more structured compositions emphasizing funk and groove. This was exemplified by the album's two dominant tracks, "Boogie Woogie Waltz" and "125th Street Congress," as well as the album closer, "Non-Stop Home." Other tracks were reminiscent of Weather Report's previous albums, making Sweetnighter a transition from the band's first phase to what one might call its mature phase.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Weather Report the Zawinul estate is proud to release this live DVD document of the band's performance in Offenbach, Germany, on September 29th, 1978.
The recording features arguably the most individual group ever to mix elements of jazz, rock and electronics and they're captured here at their absolute best.
A genuine, pleasurable meeting of minds between 17th-century French lute pieces and 21st-century jazz. A gentle music stamped with midnight brooding. (Source: The Times, UK)