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Weather Report - Sweetnighter CD (album) cover

SWEETNIGHTER

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.76 | 92 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Third album and what I call a hinge-album (as in turning point/cornerstone) when Weather Report is abandoning their early torrid jazz-rock to go into a fusion jazz funk. The change in music was obviously the next step as Miles and Shorter suffered from the Black American community's short-sightedness, calling their music too "white" or even Honkey music (a much too-ignored form of racism, often called "reverse racism" as if it was alright to be so), a bit the same way Hendrix suffered from it! So WR decided to make a step in their direction, which wouldn't help since the Blacks didn't followed and the white audiences remained. The black community's loss really as this album ROCKS the ship. Indeed the two-bassist formation is absolutely marvellous (catch it on the opening track of each sides), and this album equals Body Electric, in this writer's book, whatever the Afro-Americans can say!

Obviously the odd man out was Miroslav Vitous (he would depart after this album), but he's present on five of six tracks, but twice doubled by Andrew White on electric bass, and to be fair on the English horn as well. Percussion-wise, while Romao is still to be seen on two tracks, Gravatt already makes an appearance (he would be full time on the following Mysterious Traveller), but shares the drum stool with Dwellingham.

Starting out on a delicious "Papa Was A Rollin Stone"-type brass funk, you just know Body Electric is soon to be history as a good deal of the record follows suit, although with varying degrees of funkyness. If the Zawinul-penned Boogie Woogie Waltz is clearly pumped from the afore-mentioned Parliament vein, it is less the case with Manolete, which returns more to Body Electric and the debut, while retaining a clear funky groove, but has a definite experimental edge. The A-side closer Adios is a very ambient track that takes us back to the debut album.

The flipside is build roughly around the same canvas, with a lengthy funky Zawinul-penned opener (125th Street Congress), a shorter more progressive and adventurous piece, the Vitous-written and torrid, sun-roasted Will (my fave on the album) and a short improv closer, Non-Stop Home.

As I said, Sweetnighter is really the hinge-album, separating (or linking) their first two phases, and by itself, it is very excellent album, even if the funk grooves are indeed a little easy for progheads. Nevertheless, this album is thoroughly enjoyable and still very much indicated to progheads

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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