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Weather Report - Live & Unreleased CD (album) cover

LIVE & UNRELEASED

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.23 | 27 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
5 stars What an amazing treasure-trove. In the last ten years or so, many record companies have released live material by famous acts from the past, and obviously some collections proved more succesful than others (Yes' THE WORD IS LIVE being an example of a live compilation that received an almost universal thumbs-down) but WEATHER REPORT: LIVE AND UNRELEASED established itself as an instant classic.

I never got a chance to see Weather Report in concert, but I gradually discovered the band's most exciting albums (TALE SPINNIN', MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER and BLACK MARKET) and I have the impression this collection, in which these are all well represented (together with other, equally outstanding material) is the kind of live collection every Weather Report fan must have been dreaming of. Since the sound quality is immaculate, and since Weather Report were even better live than in the studio, this is also the best introduction to the band you could imagine. If you're new to W.R., and you really want to know what they stood for, don't let people fool you, don't buy that inferior studio album HEAVY WEATHER (even though it contains the popular hit single "Birdland", not included here) but go for LIVE AND UNRELEASED straightaway.

Yes, Weather Report play something that has to be called 'fusion', but to my relief, I must say, there are no electric guitars or violins so it's anything but a "metallic" kind of fusion; it's simply the most vibrant, the most exuberantly dancing kind of jazz anyone has played since the days of Duke Ellington, full of the bubbliest synths, basslines and percussion. Ever since Weather Report broke up I've tried some of the more recent solo albums by their keyboardist Joe Zawinul and their saxophone star Wayne Shorter (Rock freaks, be warned: Shorter NEVER sounds annoying; he's always superbly poetic and exciting!) but strangely enough, although such albums had their moments, none of them contained even half of the old Weather Report magic. I guess it's that unique combination of Shorter and Zawinul with some of the world's greatest bass players and drummers, that made them an act that's hard to follow.

By the way, the fact that performances by different WR incarnations appear in non-chronological order does not bother me in the least. The pieces follow each other in the manner of a first-rate concert, and you can invite your friends to an exciting little game of "who's the bassist here" and "who's the drummer". Enjoy!

fuxi | 5/5 |

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