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WEATHER REPORT

Weather Report

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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tedg@wiredmag
3 stars WR's first album is very much a formative effort, conceived in the wake of Wayne Shorter's and Joe Zawinul's tenure in the Miles Davis band. The spirit of "Bitch's Brew" and "In a Silent Way" animates the proceedings, which are somewhat tentative but full of lovely moments. Anyone who likes those two albums would do well to check this one out.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#39538)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
celtae_druwid
4 stars By the same motivation i'll not give 5 stars to WR albums. This too is an excellent album, it's a kind of Psychedelic Electronic Jazz/New Age/Fusion/Rock style, you can sleep very well hearing this album, it tracks have some very agradable waves to hear, they get in with a great softness on the ears. I recomend this album to people who like soft/calm music, it's very good to hear because you can imagine things while you hear it, it makes your mind travel and show you a lot of things (but you must pay very attention, if you don't pay attention the music will turn into a strange sound, some kind of bad make thing, as the second album I Sing The Body Electric).

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#42523)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
5 stars Almost 5 stars!!!

With two WR members emanating from Miles' Bitches Brew line-up (Zawinul and Shorter), it was obvious that their first album would be heavily influenced by it. But to everyone's surprise, WR's debut only took BB as a starting point and expanded on it, pushing the musical adventure a notch further and improvising so well and inspired, that you'd swear the whole thing is written. The duo enrolled the Czech-born Miroslav Vitous, (which will become an indispensable early WR's pillar) than secured Brazilian-born percussionist Airto Moreira and drummer Alphonse Mouzon, thus creating a real supergroup or an all-star line-up as the jazz circles prefer it. Released in 71 on the Columbia banner with a strange abstract artwork, WR's debut would take the JR scene by storm.

Right from the first twitches of Milky Way, we just know we're in for a long strange trip, as the music flirts with atonalities, then reaching a strange metamorphosed Miles jazz-funk (Umbrellas) that takes away the pleasantness and replacing it with cold hard improvising. On Seventh Arrow (a Vitous track), Zawinul's Fender Rhodes takes us sky-bound with Shorter's sax hovering like a mosquito around our ears until Zawinul derails the train into cosmic heights with his weird synths layers. The album's highlight is the Zawinul-penned Orange Lady, starting out lazily under the noontime sun, and then simply roasting under the scorching sun.

The flipside opens on the magical Morning Lake, with zawinul's Rhodes layering the track as to allow vitous to soar with his bass, while Shorter's sax is the cool breeze setting the mist apart to let the sunrays grace our ears. Waterfall, as you'd guess, is definitely more rapid than the Morning Lake, but obviously the cool Shorter breeze is not yet shaking the night's torpor. Shorter was being short-changed in terms of songwriting credits up to now, but he gets to close the album with two tracks, first the again-slow (but brooding and menacing) Tears (astounding track with celestial voices) and the funkier Eurydice, which is much closer to conventional jazz than the Z-S duo had done in quite a while.

An impeccable album, but not likely suited for everyone as it is much slower than you'd expect a WR album, especially for those more familiar with the Pastorius days. Personally, I always preferred the Vitous-era as they were truly groundbreaking and along with its successor, this album is clearly teir most progressive.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#132165)
Posted Tuesday, August 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars People always mention Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra when talking about Weather Report but at least on this debut album from Weather Report the comparison isn´t that true. Weather Report lacks the speed of light style of both mentioned bands. The jazz/ fusion style is of course something all three bands share. Weather Report isn´t as good as the two other bands IMO though.

The music can be described as easy listening instrumental ( well almost) jazz/ fusion which is driven by Joe Zawinul´s electric and acoustic piano playing. The lead instrument is Wayne Shorter´s soprano & tenor saxophones which plays lots of jazzy notes. The themes are pleasant and there are lots of soloing. After listening to the intro song Milky Way which is kind of experimental sounding I was hoping for some intriguing music, but I can´t say I find the rest of the songs that interesting.

The musicianship is what is most exciting about the album IMO. All musicians are way above average.

The production is good.

This is just a bit too jazzy for me. The fusion element isn´t strong enough for someone like me who doesn´t enjoy regular jazz much. The music and the playing is of high quality, but personally this is not very rewarding to me so I´ll have to rate this album 2 stars. The quality is for much more, so I´m sure people more into the genre will like this more than me.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#173616)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4 of the 5 members of WEATHER REPORT played with Miles Davis at some point. I think that's important because you get the feeling when listening to their debut that it's an extension of "In A Silent Way". Actually for me this sounds more like it preceeded Miles' album, and that Davis improved upon it. That's not the case of course just my impression of this album. It's like they decided to make this album more subtle and ambient and they took away the funk and groove that Miles was known for when they were with him in the late 60's. And when you hear quotes from Zawinul like "Music is a soundtrack for your imagination and head" and "We always solo and we never solo" you know that this music isn't going to be remotely commercial or catchy. That's important if your going to wrap your mind around this album. And I must admit it's taken me a long time to "get" this one. Now I just get lost in the atmosphere. Beautiful.

"Milky Way" as the title suggests is very spacey and different from the other tracks."The sounds were made by acoustic piano and soprano saxaphone. It has to do with overtones and the way one uses the piano pedals". "Umbreallas" is more like it as we get a melody with some intricate sounds coming and going. "Seventh Arrow" a Vitous comosition is another good one. Piano, light drums and sax stand out early. The percussion is a nice touch as well. "Orange Lady" opens with liquid keys as some relaxing sax from Shorter comes in. It all stops after 2 1/2 minutes as a new melody starts. There's even some vocal melodies in this one.

"Morning Lake" is another Vitous composition.This is mellow as the birds sing away. Sax and liquid piano stand out as light drums support. "Waterfall" is also pretty mellow but it gets better once it gets going. "Tears" again like "Orange Lady" has some vocal melodies that come and go.The tempo continues to shift in this one and the bass is prominant. "Eurydice" features liquid keys, bass and light drums as sax plays over top. The bass almost sounds like an upright bass.

A solid 4 star album that has become very meaningful to me.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#196941)
Posted Friday, January 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Weather Report is a legend in jazz-rock fusion, But... don't you wait for something of RTF or Machavishnu Orchestra kind of music. Far away!

The album begins of strange free-jazz composition. Slowly (and all the album is VERY slow) you will realise, that it's much more jazz, than usual fusion. And it's a strange world of cold keyboard sounds and sax solos, without structure, and only in rare moments with some drive. More amorphous sound, than any kind of musical structure, all that music is cool liquid. You can't feel comfortable in it, but you are often interested in that what happens after, next minute.

It's difficult for me to say, is this album good or bad. It's very different. In sense of free jazz category, I think i is almost perfect. In sense of some kind of jazz-rock avantgarde, it really strong. But if you're waiting for usual jazz-fusion of it's time, you will be totaly disappointed.

So - no recommendations, just try to decide, is it music for you, or just better avoid.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#235516)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Miles Davis had pioneered jazz fusion and in his band at the time were Weather Report's own Joe Zawinul & Wayne Shorter who featured on such landmark albums as "In A Silent Way" & "Bitches Brew." Zawinul also contributed his own song on "In A Silent Way" seeing him share album credits with Miles himself.It's that specific sound that would feature again not more then two years later wit the relase of Weather Report's self titled. Both albums had seen the use of electric instrumentation instead of the standard acoustic set up. which to some,this may of been deemed blasphemous with critics calling Miles' a sellout. But it also brought jazz to a whole new audience.Weather Report with other electric jazz bands such as Return To Forever & The Mahavishnu Ochestra (all of which featured members from Miles Davis' band) became the forefront of jazz fusion/jazz rock and are credited as the true pioneers of the genre.Unlike the previously mentioned bands Weather Report's début continued the experimental and psychedelic sounds from Bitches Brew.But rather keep the chaotic intensity of Bitches Brew's avant jazz sound.It shared the pace,flow and experimentation of "In A Silent Way" creating an exciting yet risky début.

As the band is a far smaller unit then Miles band this leaves alot for freedom for the five musicians to roam.Wayne Shorter's Soprano sax playing is a real highlight of the album.Over complex rythms and experimental sounds his tasteful playing adds more texture & makes this farout album more grounded,this is more notable on song "Tears."A good example of why Weather Report have always sounded so unique throughout their career was their ability to experiment & incorporate various music styles.Though prominently a jazz group,influences of rock & world music can be heard throughout this album and later in their career funk would also become a dominant sound for the band. Founding member & bassist Miroslav Vitous's has an impressive performance on track "Umbrellas" although technically a free jazz song,his chunky distorted bass similar to that of Jack Bruce's bass tone of the time and a solid groove provided by drummer Alphonse Mouzon shows their rock tendencies although this would never be fully explored.

I began listening to Weather Report after hearing their repatoir of musicians more specifically bass players such as Jaco Pastorius,Victor Bailey & Alphonso Johnson and although I was very impressed by the albums featuring them,this has become a favourite of mine.Fantastic musicianship,an excellent lineup & a historic album should persuade you to buy this.

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Send comments to mrcozdude (BETA) | Report this review (#246245)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Undoubtfully WEATHER REPORT were among the strongest and most ground-breaking bands of the Jazz-Rock/Fusion field.Formed by saxophonist Wayne Sorter and Austrian keyboardist Joe Zawinul, both members of MILES DAVIS's former line-up,WEATHER REPORT tried to lead MILES DAVIS' sound a step further.They recruited Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous,drummer Alphonso Mouzon and percussionist Airto Moreira (from RETURN TO FOREVER) to complete the original line-up of the quintet.

Their debut,simply carrying their name,was released on February 1971 and was a very good starting point.The improvisation of MILES DAVIS,the smooth jazz interplays of RETURN TO FOREVER along with the members' strong personality guarantee a satisfying result.Often led by a soft style and a relaxed musicianship,the compositions are based on Shorter's both dynamic and calm saxes,the maginificent piano strings of Zawinul and the funky bass lines of Vitous.Mouzon offers also a surprising performance,characterized by his fast drumming next to Moreira's percussion's beauty.The structures of the arrangements can be abstract and pleasant at the same time,while the improvisational parts are shortened to allow the members to develop some good well-executed ideas.This album can be ethereal and pleasant,while the next moment finds you lost in a complex labyrinth.''Weather report'' was a really good debut and definitely a recommended release for anyone who wants to start succesfully his journey into theJazz-Rock territory...3.5 stars!

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#253735)
Posted Monday, November 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In a Silent Way

After the musical exploration that Miles Davis with his ''electric bands'' had achieved, the members that formed the ''electric bands'' decided to explore even further for themselves. One of these seperate groups was Weather Report which featured the alliance between Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter.

From the three classic Jazz Rock groups that triumphed in the 70's, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Return to Forever, Weather Report will always be the less recognised and loved by Prog fans. The obvious reason is because Weather Report never had a guitarist and instead the leading instrument was the sax and besides that, they actually never played Jazz Rock in the manner of Return to Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra which both headed mostly towards rock and highly technical material.

Weather Report instead of adventuring further the rock sensibilities that Bitches Brew and A Tribute to Jack Johnson had, they opted to explore further the jazz improvisation essence of those albums. The apex of this exploration was 1972's I Sing the Body Electric.

As for the debut, the band clearly showed which path they had chosen and the result is very much in the vein of In a Silent Way by Miles Davis. Overall a pretty tranquil album with sweet and delicate saxophone notes and jazzy organ/electric piano bits. However, just like In a Silent Way, the band adds some groove every now and then with Alphonse Mouzon and Miroslav being the responsible for this. What Weather Report added to In a Silent Way's style is further experimentation thus the appearance of ocassional dissonance and misleading parts which are really not my cup-of-tea, but I can see anyone who's more fond in free jazz or avant-garde to enjoy these bits.

As a conclusion I'll just say that it's very much like a good 'experimental' version of In a Silent Way. If you're a fan of Miles Davis' 69-71 output, this Weather Report album will surely satisfy you. However, if you're already into more experimental and adventurous stuff and you are keen about free jazz, then I would say get 'I Sing the Body Electric' first.

If you're a fan of more active music that features instantly memorable melodies and grooves, then Heavy Weather and Black Market would be the best fit, and by every means avoid 'I Sing the Body Electric' and probably this too.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#265585)
Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Our music is fairy tale music. "

Joe Zawinul expressed a part of their music characters at time when Weather Report announced the debut album by the above-mentioned remark.

At that time, this album that had been recorded in 1971 called the big topic in the flow of the counterplan. A lot of impact sounds are certainly blocked in this album. They might have shown that it had given one new directionality to the item of Jazz.

Especially, existence of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter in this group. They including Bass player's Miroslav Vitous spend in the 60's in the latter half of the 50's and, of course, are choosing the United States as the base of the activity. However, there might have been a part in which it had belonged to the position where a little keep away from in another meaning from the flow of the tradition by Jazz if it considered it from the activity concerning their music. The situation might be put and the future of Jazz be watched calmly while daily performing.

Wayne Shorter mentioned John Coltrane that gave the reformation in the item of Jazz and the part of the tradition. It is said that Wayne Shorter was always felt "I and John Coltrane are in a different place". It makes remarks further while explaining in the word that calls Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt and calls "Old Time Saxophonist".

「They surely take one directionality. On the other hand, I have the part where various directionality is taken. 」

It might have been thought that it had the shade of meaning in the part where the part where music was created only by the flow of the tradition of Jazz created the frame while repeating dismantlement and restructuring in a word. And, it similarly made remarks on Joe Zawinul.

"Always thought the turn in the world, touching to various music and the cultures, absorption as my originality, and developed it. "

The methodology in Be-Bop had a certainly wonderful element. However, the diversification might have existed together to the part of saturation in constant Improvisation. It was necessary to catch the flow from another angle and to create it. And, Weather Report finally shows the appearance in front of the listener.

The part where a traditional element of Jazz that they had been doing before the formation of the group is good is processed further attended with directionality and development. The part that seems that a weak point it is a method of informing the world of all creativity by music while improving it. They guess that they believe it is possible and started the formation of the band this.

The method of the improvisation concerning the composition will be able to be enumerated as a technique that they brought in in the field of Jazz. Method of carrying machine parts into home and studio and performing improvisation by using method of live looking like. It is a methodology as for the sound felt that it is a part where you may record it. for the record in a musical note in the music scoreTheir reformative parts might have gone out of the part reflected in the sound source always honestly by expressing feelings of momentary in the sound strongly as a meaning.

「All are Solo. However, all are not Solo. 」

"As for the composition and understanding, all the parts that I felt become theories. "

This remark of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter might be shades of meaning said that the element and the material naturally generated in all will overflow further.

It might have had the part of the influence and the derivation of each other as a guess through the group of Miles Davis at this time if it enumerated it as a point that had to make a special mention. The musician who contributed to the activity of the group of Miles Davis is focused on the member of Weather Report. The music character at the time of which Weather Report debuted has a lot of opinions made to have been influenced from the music character of Miles Davis. However, it is guessed that this music character had exerted the influence of each other on Miles Davis.

If the remark of Joe Zawinul is quoted, it is a fact said, "Miles Davis was interested in the electric piano and demanded the performance of Fender Rhodes from Herbie Hancock".

Or, the fact that prohibits the performance by Chord that Miles Davis is complete compared with the player on the piano. It is said that the player range increased degree of freedom further due to these events.

And, the methodology by the reversal of the melody said that Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane thought will be able to be enumerated. Method of performing melody made in flow oppositely. Or, the method of performing from the opposite and lowering the rising melody. The technology of the composition of a method, a melody concerning the composition, and a free tune might have existed exactly for Weather Report as a very important point in the flow into which the band developed. It was always one of the consistent doing methods in the part that composed the work.

The activity of the band that gropes for the possibility always aiming at the part of degree of freedom and the reformation always appears remarkably in the work. Especially, it is a well- known fact that they gradually corrected the directionality by some members' replacements. However, the methodology concerning the music that they had might be advanced attended with the idea that has already been cultivated and the music character.

"It gradually talked without panicking at the beginning and directionality was decided. "

The remark of this Joe Zawinul might have indeed become a consistent slogan for Weather Report. It is said that the member who was related after the band debuts communicated with the discussion and the conference always. Might it project in the extension and their music characters have been projected to the sound attended with flexibility. And, a reformative part and a free performance become nuclei and appear in the performance. There might have been such a part for the period from the debut of the band to the finish of the activity. Of course, there might have been a reformation with a purpose, an idea, and directionality at the time of the debut of the band. However, creativity, degree of freedom, and the technology were always included in the band. The band to which these elements are united can catch as a dexterous part. The activity of the band that kept actually practicing and offering the existence and proof to the fan and the listener might be proof always attractive to the band.

As for "Milky Way", a mysterious sound is intermittently repeated. It is development to recollect one mystery and space exactly. Flow that completely excludes extra sound. Or, a complete anacatesthesia and the tension by coming in succession of the sound. And, Chord of exquisiteness is processed. It has a presentiment of the directionality of a new band.

"Umbrellas" It is a tune to accompany a complete dash feeling and the anacatesthesia. Flow that unifies flavor of different Groove. The band processes the sound intermittently freely. Continuousness and the flavor of the sound thrust into the ruled air might be splendid. Joe Zawinul can listen to a human performance in this album because it uses only the electric piano. It changes tempo and the composition of the tune with an advanced part and Improvisation continues a good tension.

"Seventh Arrow" is a tune of Miroslav Vitous. It is possible to catch very much as Jazz Rock that increases degree of freedom. The flow of Improvisation is introduced overall and advanced development is splendid. Part of steady rhythm section. Or, the sound of the percussion instrument effectively introduced. Each member might talk by music while searching for a sound each other while repeating the theme that the piano and Sax are perfect. It is a tune with the flow and the tension that digests the methodology of Jazz most and develops.

As for "Orenge Lady", the anacatesthesia of Sax twines round the electric piano with a transparent feeling well. Do the float of the melody that flows slowly in the space. The music character cultivated in the group of Miles Davis might be being indeed absorbed well by this band. The tension and the anacatesthesia that drifts as much as possible are splendid. The impression of the tune has been decided also to the flow that excluded the rhythm at the first stage. The tune shifts to development to accompany the sound of the percussion instrument before long. Melody in which soprano Sax is glossy. Construction of sound of electric piano with element of sequence. The band combines attended with an enchantment a few elements.

"Morning Lake" is a tune of Miroslav Vitous. This tune is a tune to collect to "To Be Continued" that Miroslav Vitous announced with Terje Rypdal and Jack Dejohnette in 1981. Flow of theme to involve fresh part and tension. Sax with gloss to get on the flow and piano melody. And, the rhythm freely created flows. It is a tune that gives the peaceful image. It flows around the part of the repeated theme.

"Waterfall" ..original tune that is.. has finished. Development of peculiar rhythm. Line of Bass to contribute to tune. Flow that a few sequences with electric piano are recollected. The band attempts uniting while searching for each other. Each sound shines exactly and it comes in succession. The collective impression might be original Jazz Rock that is.

The melody of "Tears" with which a transparent feeling overflows is impressive. Ensemble that the band does is perfect. Swinging piano melody. The melody that Sax is good for a steady rhythm gets on. Part of progress of Chord and change in rhythm. Scat by Al Mouzon. And, a melody advanced with change tempo one after another is complete. It is a very mysterious tune. The sensibility of Wayne Shorter is splendidly reflected in the tune.

"Eurydice" shifts from the part of Improvisation to the part of complete Jazz Beat. The band advances in union. However, an original tension and the anacatesthesia advance also. The tune progresses an original performance with stability. Solo of Sax and the electric piano twines cymbals legato stabilize well.

Distinguished services of Weather Report that has large influence in field of Jazz/Fusion. It is an element of the line of Improvisation in this debut album. Skillful powerful composition power. All nuclei of Weather Report are blocked. And, their names are known to the world at once.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#284658)
Posted Wednesday, June 02, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Together with Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report is one of the big fusion acts to emerge from the Miles Davis 69-70 line-up. Out of these supergroups, Weather Report strikes me as the band that was the most successful at continuing the mysterious atmospheres of Bitches Brew . Without guitar player in their line-up, their music tends to be less riff-based, with more attention to ambience and the rich harmonic jazz chords.

The album almost takes an ambient electronic start with Milky Way, very experimental and suggestive. Umbrellas introduces rocking basics such as prominent drums and heavy bass guitar. Wayne Shorter plays his saxophones similarly to how Davis plays the trumpet, with long sustained piercing blows. The structure of the music is very loose but still coherent and accessible. At least if you like to be mesmerized by the evocative power of free jazz. Seventy Arrow is a similarly energetic piece.

With Orange Lady, Morning Lake and Waterfall Weather Report return to more ambient and jazzy stylings, with a very slow an moody atmosphere, similar to Miles Davis' In A Silent Way. Tears is more upbeat again, almost funky, with wordless hazy vocals. Also Eurydice continues to swing, be it in quite an anarchistic fashion.

This is not your action-packed Mahavishnu or Return To Forever album, but it is a stunning and rich album full of magically flowing music. Wonderful music!

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#284709)
Posted Thursday, June 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Mellow, Spacey, Open Early Fusion Gem

Weather Report consisted mainly of alumni of Miles Davis' legendary Bitches Brew band, and became one of the leaders of the genre that album founded. On their first album, WR sounds much more like the Davis records and less like the funky, virtuosic style that would later define jazz fusion by the mid 70's. Like BB, the feel is quite free form and open. However, I actually feel that there is more going on here than on the sprawling BB. Though there is never a hook or jazz "head" to be found here, I feel like the jams have a better sense of movement, and hold my attention better.

Whether you like this album or not will depend entirely on your taste in space jams. Unlike Kraut or psychedelic rock, the jams here are paired with plenty of groove. This is not an over sedated dragging affair. In fact, the music evokes a crisp spring evening with the lights of a city in the distance. While evoking fantastic scenes, it is not an inward looking sound. For myself, this sound evokes a wonder in the world. Needless to say I like this style. Some will find it too aimless, too mellow, not enough technique. But for pure beauty, there's hard to find a better album in the whole J-F discography.

The basic sound on WR's debut is a combination of electric pianos providing a foundation for saxophone explorations. The rhythm section ducks in and out, with funky cymbal play and big fuzzy bass taking center stage on some tracks while sitting out other sections. This exact sound would be taken forward with a few more surprises for the next album I Sing the Body Electric. I'm frankly not sure which I like better. I rated that album a masterpiece, but something here just doesn't feel evocative enough to go that far.

Still if jazzy space jams are your thing, this album is pretty much can't miss.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#462085)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Maybe more than any other album I've ever heard, Weather Report's debut has to be one of the hardest to write a review for. Listening to it is the easy part, liking it took a bit more effort, but making commentary about is such a struggle with this particular album because WEATHER REPORT is the type of album that shatters the fine line between melodic jazz and abstract/avant-garde jazz. Almost in the same way that Davis's BITCHES BREW did a similar thing earlier, only we get bite-sized pieces instead of sprawling 20-minute jams (no track goes beyond nine minutes here).

Unless you have a natural dislike towards jazz, give the album several listens; something might break through eventually. That happened with me on ''Milky Way''. Don't give into the idea that the track is just an intro because it is an experience. The piano chords on how they're broken up, yet so floating and airy is just masterful; better yet, the music matches the title as it does feel that I'm in outer space looking at our galaxy from a distance. That same feeling hit me much later in the album on ''Waterfalls''; the piece really does sound like its title.

The overarching sound achieved here is a synthesis of classic jazz, the jazz-fusion style that was starting to blossom and avant-garde sensibilities, yet this is no inharmonious album. The best tone achieved here is through bassist Miroslav Vitous; at times it could be warm, yet it could have a fuzzy attack (hear ''Umbrellas''). The albums' halves seem to contrast each other with Side A having a darker ''melancholy'' and Side B being more upbeat despite a track named ''Tears'' (which is both solemn and upbeat).

Maybe one of the most innovative albums of all time, but lacks the melody or danciness of later releases, but that shouldn't hold anything against WEATHER REPORT. If anything, the too-long ''Orange Lady'' is the only giant blemish in an otherwise stellar art-jazz album. And it's probably the closest Weather Report has gotten towards progressive music.

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Posted Sunday, March 04, 2012 | Review Permalink

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