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Weather Report - Heavy Weather CD (album) cover

HEAVY WEATHER

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.68 | 182 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

With Black Market, Heavy Weather is the best-selling jazz-rock album of all time, but by all means it is completely over-rated on this writer's advice. With Chester Thompson out (left for Genesis) and replaced by Aruna, this album pretty well follows its predecessor's path, and the artwork is very "prog" and their best yet. One of the remarks I have for this album is it lacks power but it seems its powers are virtuoso playing (not denying it), soul (this cold jazz has me really wondering whether it is indeed the case) and but certainly not finesse, IMHO.

With the jazz crossover jazz-rock of Birdland, the album starts fairly weakly, partly because of a twee motif chorus and lack of power, something I simply don't expect (or want) from WR. But the pain is not over as A Remark You Made is one of those ugly syrupy love ballad for late-night slows jazz clubs. Teen Town is a Pastorious excuse to put his bass on the forefront while Harlequin musically sits between Birdland and Remark, with a Zawinul synth sound sounding much like Toots Thieleman's harmonica. The whole side sounding listless to this listener.

The flipside is an altogether different affair, starting on an African percussion Rumba Mama live ditty which has absolutely no musical relation whatsoever with the rest of the album. But comes Palladium with the first power chords opening the song, but that's about has loud as it will get on the whole album: indeed the track settles in a funky groove where Shorter's sax and Zawinul's Rhodes dominate the forefront, but we are in the MT and TS album mode, which means killer funk. Easily the best track of the album. The Juggler juggles with the styles previously approached on the album between funk jazz, soft jazz, and syrupy fusion. The closing Havona is bettering the average of the album with a changing structure and some very interesting developments.

As warned ahead of time (read my BM review), HW is really not the masterpiece everyone seems to be hinting at and if not for the flipside, it would sink heavily. Directionless, often powerless (Aruna is no Chester Thompson) and "anything goes" seem to be the unwanted trademark, here. With only the Havona and Palladium tracks being worthy of earlier albums, it is just possible this writer is missing the point of this stage in WR's career, but whether or not, I just don't like it.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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