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Weather Report - I Sing The Body Electric  CD (album) cover

I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.78 | 106 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Free Form Jazz Fusion at its Best

Weather Report's I Sing the Body Electric is an album that I've only recently been able to handle and appreciate. It's extremely free form, pulling in sounds ranging from low spoken murmurs to more classic jazz soloing to strange atonal feedback. The album is custom made for lying back with headphones, as the mix is very open and airy. I feel like I'm floating in a spacy dream. The tonality will slide from pleasant melodic major phrases to chaos almost seamlessly, tricking you into thinking there was planned structure for just a moment and then flying off again into the stratosphere.

Though excellent throughout, the album starts as its high point and coasts home. "Unknown Soldier" is an improvisational, wide open piece held together by a constant swing gallop on the ride cymbal. It's amazing how that one constant element allows the band to explore vast stretches of musical territory without the listener feeling lost. "The Moors" is a bit more structured, starting with a fiery acoustic guitar piece before the band comes in, filling out the piece with a great spacy energy. "Crystal" is the most wide open of the tracks, somewhat like the opener but without the ride, viable now because the listener has settled into the WR atmosphere. A big fuzzy bass holds a looser anchor while the sax floats above. Electric piano and percussion enter successively, panned hard left and right. The first side ends with "Second Sunday in August," a percussion-heavy tracks that is much fuller than the earlier songs. More grounded with a more traditional jazz drum rhythm and sense of melody, this last studio track sets us down back on the earth before we proceed.

This first half I would whole-heartedly give 5 stars without question. However, I am forced to reconsider as the second side is a collection of live tracks that while strong, don't match the mastery of the studio tracks. They do ratchet up the energy quite a bit, treating us to a collection of frenetic free form jamming that makes me wish I was at the gig. As with any live jams, there are definite highs and lows in the midst of the improvisation. I personally have a much higher tolerance for this when I'm at a gig than listening to recorded material, but the music is strong enough to maintain my interest here.

One would think that a 5 star side one and a 3 star side two would average to 4. However, this album holds such a unique and powerful place in my library that I can't give it anything below a masterpiece rating.

Negoba | 5/5 |

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