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Weather Report - Heavy Weather CD (album) cover


Weather Report


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.67 | 273 ratings

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3 stars "Heavy Weather" is the 7th full-length studio album by US jazz rock/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia Records in March 1977. There are a couple of changes to the lineup since the last album "Black Market (1976)" as Jaco Pastorius now handles all bass playing in Weather Report. Percussionist Alejandro Neciosup Acuņa predominantly plays drums on "Heavy Weather" and new percussionist Manolo Badrena handles various percussion on the album. Keyboard player Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter are the usual suspects in the lineup.

"Heavy Weather" signals quite a big change in direction and sound for Weather Report. Compared to their earlier more experimental jazz rock/fusion material this album features tight compositional structures and very little improvisation. Thereīs also much more focus on memorable themes. A kind of pop sensibility that Weather Report have not focused on before. Depending on your preferences this will probably either turn you off or on. Iīm leaning towards being turned off but "Heavy Weather" is a diverse album (or a mixed bag if you want to put on the negative glasses) with both really brilliant tracks and some that are not that interesting.

The opening track "Birdland" is without a doubt Weather Reportīs best known and most commercially successful track. While itīs a very accessible and quite easy listening jazz/pop song itīs very cleverly composed and arranged. A real treat this one. The second track "A Remark You Made" is a composition that unfortunately crosses the line of good taste and gives me associations to easy listening eleavator muzak or even worse background music to soft porn/erotic flicks. And itīs usually not the music thatīs the biggest attraction in those kind of movies now is it? The main theme in the song is very well composed though and very memorable. So I donīt question how skilled the band are as composers (or musicians for that matter), but their choice of notes and atmosphere. "Teen Town" is a Jaco Pastorius composition with a beat thatīs akin to disco without ever becoming disco of course. The fourth track on the album "Harlequin" is decent but not spectacular in any way. "Rumba Mama" is a short live percussion and a capella sung track by the two percussionists in the band. Again nothing too special. Then we have "Palladium" which is one of the strongest compositions on "Heavy Weather". Niceīnīfunky. "The Juggler" is back in soft territory but otherwise a good composition. "Havona" closes the album and what a way to end an album! Just feast on that bass playing by Jaco Pastorius. Itīs probably the strongest track on "Heavy Weather" (along with "Birdland") and one of the few tracks on the album that focuses a lot on fusion tinged playing.

The sound production is professional and clean but lacks a bit of the warmth of earlier recordings. Itīs still a pleasant and well sounding seventies recording though. Overall "Heavy Weather" is a pretty decent release by Weather Report. The occasional excellence of tracks like "Birdland", "Palladium" and "Havona" are however not enough to make me rate it higher than with a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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