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Weather Report - Live & Unreleased CD (album) cover

LIVE & UNRELEASED

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 24 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars To borrow an observation once made about Charlie Parker, I've discovered the perfect temperature for listening to the music of Weather Report: 98.6 degrees, of course.

The pioneering Fusion group played some of the most joyful, upbeat Jazz Rock ever created, and their music was twice as vital when performed live before an eager audience. This belated two-disc set (released 16-years after the band's final studio album) collects performances from throughout the history of the group, in all its various incarnations, and edits them seamlessly into what sounds like a single concert.

The piecemeal organization (not in chronological order) combines songs from gigs scattered between 1975 and 1983. But there's a remarkable uniformity to the sound quality, and of course to the caliber of the playing, with a vivid live ambience to match the equally lively performances.

This was always a band of virtuoso artists, but on stage the various groups were clearly having too much fun to strut their chops in a self-indulgent manner: rarely has playing music ever sounded so playful. Thirteen total musicians can be heard throughout the two discs here, with the only constants in the shifting line-up being the pleasantly distorted sound of Joe Zawinul's quicksilver keyboard runs and the typically graceful playing of Wayne Shorter on saxophone.

Other elements varied, but there's no mistaking the presence of Jaco Pastorius and the unique hyper- tense sound of his bass guitar. There are moments when his astonishing technique can almost be distracting, but despite a reputation for speed and dexterity he could sometimes discover moments of near sublime nuance. Listen to "Portrait of Tracy" on Disc One: an unaccompanied Pastorius solo and, for him, a rare moment of musical understatement.

A better fan than myself (for the moment, but I'm catching up fast) can tell you more about the etymology of each cut and the configuration of every separate line-up. Being a relative newbie to the music of Weather Report, I can only offer my own private forecast: sunny and mild, and without a cloud in the sky.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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