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

I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.80 | 97 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Weather Report's second album fuses together two very different halves: the first features four new impressionist tone poems, the second a supercharged Tokyo live performance. In the studio, Weather Report explores deceptively disparate arrangements with commentary led by Wayne Shorter, Miroslav Vitous and Joe Zawinul. New member Eric Gravatt anchors the pieces with purposeful rhythms, augmented on one track by percussionist Dom Um Ramao. The music initially sounds noisy, almost defiant, but there's clearly a method to Weather Report's madness. On "The Moors," which features Ralph Towner's twelve-string guitar at the onset, a palpable eerieness rumbles throughout like a storm cloud building strength. While this music is often regarded as a fusion of rock and jazz, the influence of impressionist composers like Debussy can't be discounted; like Frank Zappa, Weather Report's instrumentation pays particular attention to the individual "voices" of its players. Because the music features many voices talking at once, the different musical commentary may seem cacophonous to some ears, but in fact they are cogs in the same big machine working toward a common goal. The live tracks, recorded in Tokyo's Shibuya Kokaido Hall on January 13th, are more forceful by comparison, with every member pushing their own individual envelopes into a noisy but fascinating hybrid of art jazz and rock. Zawinul's keyboards are bold strokes that use a variety of different sounds and textures (the likely beneficiary of having synthesizer pioneer Roger Powell as a consultant), while guest Wilmer Wise unleashes a bizarre trumpet solo on the opening medley that nearly upstages the band. The live tracks allow for individual members to lead the discussion, with Gravatt and Vitous creating the craggy terrain for Shorter and Zawinul to traverse. Although Eastern sounds are incorporated on "Unknown Soldier," the multicultural experiment really gets underway with "Surucucu," where shards of sound are delivered alongside the unmistakable stamp of Shorter. Though the freedom-of-expression aesthetic makes for some very alarming music, I Sing the Body Electric is really a celebration of sound (a point alluded to in Robert Hurwitz' fine liner notes).
daveconn | 4/5 |

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