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Weather Report - Heavy Weather CD (album) cover

HEAVY WEATHER

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.68 | 182 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

R-A-N-M-A
3 stars It is difficult for me, being an outsider to the world of jazz, to imagine why fusion bands like Weather Report are looked upon with derision for their apparent lack of devotion to ture jazz. Maybe it's just this particular album, but I think that this effort is jazz first rock second. I certainly do not mean that in a negative way, however Heavy Weather cought me off guard.

The album kicks off in real style. Birdland is absolutely fantastic! It is funky, up tempo and dynamic. I can't help but tap my feet and get into the groove on this track. Like I said, I'm no jazz aficionado, but it is easy to see why the piece is popular among traditional jazz musicians. It is the high point of the album by far. Too bad it comes first and mixes up expectations for the remainder of the album.

The next track is A Remark You Made. Quite frankly I don't really comprehend what would qualify this as fusion per se. It sounds like a straight forward smooth jazz track. It's nice, but I think it would be better used to get sway on with a sophisticated lady. It might have a place on this album but after the Birdland it's really a letdown.

Luckily the follow up is Teen Town. It is all bass, and if you have ever perused my previous reviews I'm a fan. It is totally progressive and showcases the infamous Jaco Pastorius doing his thing. Not the master work that Birdland is, this one would be my preference without it. The funny thing about this one is that at several points you anticipate the solo to break out into a full on funk romp but it never does. Its fine by me, Teen Town is great, but it gets me wondering about how cool it would sound if they drifted a little more in that direction.

Harlequin is in the same vein as A Remark You Made. It isn't able to pick up on the momentum that is started with Teen Town. I'm sorry to say for anyone who is a fan of this piece, Zwainul puts down some cool keyboards, but this feels like it takes way longer than 4 minutes to get through and not in a good way.

Now for the oddity of the album, Rumba Mama. What a left turn! I am almost dozing after Harlequin then out of now where comes a live recorded performance of what I suppose falls a little more on the out there side of the jazz spectrum. It swims in African influence. Cool drum solo, but I can't really say I dig the vocals.

Following Rumba Mama, I'm awake again and this time Heavy Weather rewards me by breaking the slow fast cycle with Palladium. This one is another keyboard dominated piece. The way Zwainul is playing here, the more the better. It isn't an all out barage of funkiness, but I think this piece probably best captures the idea of Jazz-Rock Fusion in my mind.

Of all the slow pieces on this album, the Juggler is probably my favourite. It is a very dynamic piece. Loud to quite, fast to slow. This one does it all. The theme is very cool and the trippy synth which comes in around minute three is a treat.

Here we are. Track 7 of 7: Hanova. Love the intro. It makes me feel like I am watching 80s TV or something. Cool cool sound. The bass back too! It had been hiding for a bit. This piece manages to be both driving and exiciting while staying low key. Good closer.

I am a jazz noob. Anyone whose made it this far into the review can tell. I like this album, but I like it for different reasons than most of the rest of my collection. I consider it more the start of something beautiful between me and jazz than a continuation of my taste for progressive rock. Good, but not essential is the right way to sum this baby up from the prog perspective. You need an ear for jazz to really appreciate it. I am not quite there yet. But hey, that's why we can edit our reviews. For now, 3 out of 5 stars.

R-A-N-M-A | 3/5 |

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