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Weather Report - Sportin' Life CD (album) cover

SPORTIN' LIFE

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.49 | 53 ratings

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mootbooxle
3 stars By the mid 1980's, the subtleties of style and texture so well appreciated by fans of progressive music were largely lost. Digital synthesizers and drum machines had taken over a great deal of the mainstream, while the music being made with organic instruments was often subjected to a great deal of studio processing. In 1985, the 'larger than life' hyper- effected sound was very much in vogue in popular music.

Enter Weather Report with "Sportin' Life". While the group were certainly no strangers to pop-style production, they certainly sound here as if they were trying to make some real, organic-sounding progressive jazz. Sure, Joe Zawinul's synthesizers abound, and studio trickery of all sorts (including electronic drums) is in great supply. But the production rarely gets in the way of the music on this outing.

The musicianship is at the superb level we have come to expect from the group, with Victor Bailey (the fourth VIRTUOSO bassist to grace Weather Report vinyl) pulling out one smooth line after another, and Omar Hakim with his sometimes sly, sometimes bombastic grooves, as the basis for this funky ensemble.

Standout tracks include the understated, funky reading of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", the opening tracks from both sides of the record - "Corner Pocket" and "Pearl On The Half Shell", and the frantic, electronic, stuttery "Ice-Pick Willy".

All in all, this record stands as another fine musical achievement by Weather Report, although it has a few clunkers. I highly recommend this record who still thinks that fusion died in 1978.

mootbooxle | 3/5 |

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