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Weather Report - Night Passage CD (album) cover

NIGHT PASSAGE

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.04 | 77 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Night Passage" is the 9th full-length album by US jazz rock/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia Records in late 1980. While it is not credited as a live album, tracks 1 -7 on "Night Passage" are actually recorded live in the studio before an audience of 250 people in August 1980. The last track on the album titled "Madagascar" was recorded live in Osaka, Japan, in June of the same year. The lineup on the album is almost the same that recorded the often scolded predecessor "Mr. Gone (1978)". Robert Thomas Jr. is new on percussion though.

While the heavily synth laden and layered "Mr. Gone (1978)" was more than anything Joe Zawinul´s (keyboards, synthesizers) album, "Night Passage" is a bit more balanced and oozes of a return to more jazzy territories. Wayne Shorter´s saxophone playing is much more prominant on "Night Passage" than was the case on the last couple of albums. The rythm section is fantastic on this album too. Out of the first three albums with Jaco Pastorius on bass, "Night Passage" is the most impressive one from his side. Some of the things he plays on this album are outstanding. Just listen to his performance on a song like "Port of Entry". Just brilliant. The drumming by Peter Erskine is also outstanding and greatly enjoyable while the percussion playing by Robert Thomas Jr. adds a special exotic flavour to Weather Report´s music. What is most interesting about "Night Passage", in addition to the outstanding musicianship, is the high quality of the compositions. There´s great variation on the album and not a single track is sub par to the rest.

The production is excellent. Organic, warm and powerful.

"Night Passage" is what I consider a return to form for a band that had wandered a bit too far away from their "sound" on the last couple of albums. "Heavy Weather (1977)", which is one of the band´s most commercially successful albums, is a bit too light weight and accessible fusion to my ears and "Mr. Gone (1978)" sounds too much like a Joe Zawinul solo album instead of a group effort, so listening to "Night Passage" where it seems the band are really enjoying themselves, without thinking too much about anything else, is greatly enjoyable. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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