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Weather Report - Mysterious Traveller CD (album) cover


Weather Report


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.81 | 161 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Solid, Though Unfocused Piece of Fusion

Weather Report's MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER always has a little place in my heart because of the story Chris Poland tells of Dave Mustaine throwing the tape out the tour bus window during an early Megadeth tour. While this album is certainly good, that may be the strongest emotion ever evoked by it. MT sees the band with a few personell rearrangements, trying to expand into new territory. Funk and world rhythms find their way into the previously free form band, with a clear "softening" of the overall impact. Certainly, this music is more user- friendly than that of BODY ELECTRIC, and will be listenable to more casual listeners. And that's not all bad. But the album really only grabs me and transports me once, and the rest is mainly a slightly uneven survey of the genre.

The album opens with the energetic "Nubian Sundance" which is a high energy, prototypical fusion track. Slippery drumming, electric piano, deft bass playing, and plenty of jam factor in to a great track. The vocals don't add much to my ear, but don't take away either. My favorite song here is the spooky "Scarlet Woman" which consists with a dissonant horn harmony line playing in bursts over a very open backing pulse. In sharp contrast, "Jungle Book" is happier, world-beat song that ends the album with pleasant send-off. All of the songs, however, are more soundscapes than compositions. They each create a great scene, but there is very little sense of ebb and flow, direction, or climax.

Other songs on the album follow the same pattern, though there is more of a funk and melodic feel. Synthesizers play a large role, and overall this album is less specifically Weather Report than earlier works. As others have said, however, the band retains a sense of musicality over virtuosity that eludes some of the other giants of the genre. The grooves are good, the articulation is stellar as always. There are a few lead lines that are really good, but also plenty of noodling. Though the noodling is tasty rather than showing off, it's still a little self-serving in places. Jamming is almost always more fun for the artists than the listener, but it can make great background music.

During my typical three close listens for this review, I'm liking this album more than before. There are more little nuances, more nice touches that I hadn't noticed. But I don't think it quite makes the jump from Good To Excellent. 3+/5.

Negoba | 3/5 |


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