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MR. GONE

Weather Report

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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tedg@wiredmag
3 stars Heavy Weather, Part 2, with all the same strengths and weaknesses, but lacking a standout composition on the order of "Birdland" (or even "Nubian Sundance" or "The Man in the Green Shirt"). Mr. Gone is a more satisfying record than Black Market, Jaco Pastorius' debut with the group, but a far cry the remarkable peaks of Mysterious Traveler and Tale Spinnin', and far less engaging than the search for a stable identity embodied in the group's first two albums.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#39550)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
celtae_druwid
4 stars This is a great album that Weather Report had made, but i'll give just 4 stars (if the content was about Electronic Jazz/Fusion i wold give more than 5 stars to WR if possible) for it because the quality of the sound isn't progressive rock music (i have nothing to complain about WR, i'm a great fan of their music), but a kind of electronic jazz. However this album and the 1976-1982 phase albums are very good, cording to progressive kind music, the WR previous album are a kind of funk influent music. OBS: I recomend Weather Report albums to everyone, because they have 3 great points on the band: the greatest keyboardist Joe Zawinul, with incredible arrangements, keyboard/piano solos and tones. Jaco Pastorius the one who played bass as no one, the best bass technics i've heard, versatyle bass solos, strings harmonics solos an other crazy effects. Wayne Shorter, the big lung man. He unbelieveably play's sax with an incredible stamina, making very high and sustained sounds.

Sadly Weather Report didn't got a durable drummer on the band, changing drummer a lot of times on carrier, but the best phase on drumming in WR, was in the Heavy Weather and Black Market albums. If you wanna start to hear Weather Report, i recommend the Heavy Weather record (the most famous, one of the betters) and this album Mr. Gone.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#42522)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Compared to albums like Mysterious traveller and Tale Spinnin', Weather Report modernized their keyboards here. They get a real urban sound. The sound is more nervous and clinical. The keyboards are less often floating and they participate more to give some colour to the rhythms. The legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius vibrates at high intensity on couples of bits: his fretless bass will not leave you indifferent. The drums and percussions also merge more with the overall music. The songs also seem fresher and more accessible. However, I find most of the compositions less substantial than on their previous albums. The saxes are more conventional: the music often approaches more the conventional Spyro Gyra of the early 80's, mixed with Dave Stewart's or even Uzeb's keyboards of the early 80's.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#93650)
Posted Friday, October 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars WR's eighth album (if you count the Live Tokyo) is certainly the first poorer album in the group's 70's career and not even the intriguing artwork will change much to it. Not much I want to add that I would see fit for a proper intro to Mr Gone (they must be speaking of their inspiration) except that obviously by now, the group's better days were long behind them and this was just business-as-usual, run-of-the-mill , yet-another album, boring routine stuff!

With an ethnic artwork, the album is at least that: ethnic-fusion, and not least so with the album-opening Pursuit Of The Woman track, which personally really irks me, due to poor Zawinul keyboards (I was never a fan of the Oberheim and coupled with the ARP synth, this creating an irritating sound. Poor stuff, probably their poorest so far! The following Pastorius-penned River People is almost a parody of what they could do, almost a slap in the face in the first hour fans, with a simplified funk groove and idiotic vocals. Next up is another terrible track Young And Fine (well the songwriting in itself is not at stake here, even if it is only a little more than a Groove & Jam track) with a horrible bass line, the same awful synths sonorities/tones/timbre as the previous track. Elders is a more interesting idea, but again the strange ideas for sounds of the title track resurfaces, but the eerie feel does make this track interesting.

The flipside opens with the title track, and with its successor the Pastorius-penned Punk Jazz, we get to see an extremely cold fusion, plagued with the same keyboards sounds, but both are overall some of the best tracks of this album, but wouldn't even be fillers in previous albums of theirs. The short Pinocchio only lengthens my boredom, but is a valid piece of slow jazz, while the awful And Then closes the album very clumsily with some atrocious sung-jazz track ala Fiona Purim.

Not really saved, if only a bit by its flipside, this album is actually ruined by Zawinul's poor choices of keyboard-sound palette, some rather cold songwriting, some over-the-top virtuosi playing, downright show-offy in Pastorius' case. Of most of the 70's WR albums, should you shun one of them, make sure it is this one. Nice, clever photomontage of drawings artwork, though, but it hardly makes sufficient grounds for progheads to indulge in this one.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#134148)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Yikes...what got into Weather Report for this one? While some jazz fusion outfits continued to push the limit (notably Bruford, but others as well) near the end of the seventies, Weather Report seem to be regressing quite a bit here. There really are no new musical ideas, and they appear to have been pursued with little energy or inspiration. The result is a very stale sounding album that would fit right in half a decade later, but is quite a disappointment for any time period.

The highlights are few and far between, including the beginning of the incorrectly titled Punk Jazz (where Pastorius really cuts loose on the bass) and the uptempo, fusiony Pinocchio (unfortunately the only energetic part of the album lasts just over two minutes).

There are many lowlights, from irritating chanting (The Pursuit of the Woman with the Feathered Hat), cheesy handclaps (River People), and meandering drones and noodling (The Elders).

Basically, there's little that's inspiring or interesting, and much that can be boring or even irritating--especially if you can't help but pay close attention. Avoid this album: those who don't "get" jazz are likely to find it annoying, and those who are familiar with the genre will be bored out of their minds by this simplistic, robot-like performance. Even Pastorius can't save this one.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#143719)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This is the only album from this band that I have listened...and it was a very long time ago. One of my brothers bought it. I don`t remember if he knew something about this band or why he bought it. Maybe someone recommended it to him. But my brother and me didn`t found anything interesting on it. By the same time he also bought JEAN LUC PONTY`s "Aurora" album. He also didn`t like it...but I at least liked it much more than this "Mr. Gone" album, which sounded to me like a boring Jazz-Rock album with some commercial influences, with some Latin percussion and Funky arrangements. At that time, I knew that GENESIS tour drummer Chester Thompson played with this band, but unfortunately I found later that he was in the band in 1975-76 for a brief time. In "Aurora" I found that Daryl Stuermer (GENESIS` tour guitarist / bassist) appeared in that album. "Aurora" remains in my record collection (my brother finally gave me that album as a gift), but, what happenned to "Mr. Gone"? I don`t know. Maybe he gave it as a gift to someone else!

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#159576)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I bought Heavy Weater when it was released and I played it for a year nearly every day, just one of those perfect records. I saw Weather Report live during the famous 1978 tour and well... when Mr Gone came out I was disappointed lika a lot of people.The record got back then a 1 star review in 'Down Beat', creating quite a stir and two issues later Weather Report made the 'Down beat' cover with Weather Report storms over Mr.Gone giving the band members, especially Zawinul a chance to defend the record. Well 30 years have passed and I must admit, I haven't listened a lot to the record since and when I got the CD the other day I was quite surprised in a positive way. While the former records where mainly band efforts Mr Gone is a studio product mainly due to Zawinul and Pastorius on production. It was still the early stage of polyphonic synths, Zawinul was into heavy keyboard treatment giving the record a slighly mechanical feeling just the opposite of the warm Heavy Weather, but on the other hand a real avantgarde record in terms of synth programming. Wayne shorter had a lot of outside the band work in 1978 and as a pun refering to the title was called Mr.Gone on this record. Even so he plays on all tracks his lines are mainly drowned in the multilayered synth arangemnts of Zawinul. The record has a great production level and good compositions among them the athmospheric The pursuit Of The Woman In the feather hat and the title track by Zawinul, two great Pastorius tracks River People and Punk Jazz and a great Shorter ballad The Elders arranged by Zawinul, maybe the only track where his presence is really to be felt. Mr.Gone always suffered to be compared to Heavy Weather and should be re-evaluated on his own values

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Send comments to Alucard (BETA) | Report this review (#162251)
Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Mr. Gone" is the 8th full-length studio album by Jazz rock/Fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia/CBS Records in September 1978. Weather Report reached their commercial peak with the group┤s last album "Heavy Weather (1977)". The album featured a succesful single in "Birdland", which sold around 400.000 copies. Not exactly the order of the day for this type of music. So from a financial standpoint it must have been tempting to continue with the sound of "Heavy Weather (1977)". That┤s certainly not the case with "Mr. Gone" though.

The music on "Mr. Gone" are generally quite different from the material on "Heavy Weather (1977)" and even though the music are more easily accessible than the early recordings by the band this is no easy listening album. Not that "Heavy Weather (1977)" was an easy listening experience either. "Mr. Gone" is very much a Joe Zawinul (piano and various keyboards/synths) album while partner in crime Wayne Shorter (saxophone) seems to be reduced to backing musician on this album. As the author of the sleeve notes comments Wayne Shorter is more or less "Mr. Gone" on this album. The album is simply dominated by Joe Zawinul┤s synths and he has really gone out of his way to try new things. An example is the string and brass synth sounds which today might sound a bit dated but were probably considered very innovative back then. The rythm section with bassist Jaco Pastorius and new drummer Peter Erskine are very skilled too though and are allowed to shine several times throughout the album. Just listen to the Jaco Pastorius composition "Punk Jazz". There are some great bass playing on that track. Or the short "Pinocchio" which is the most furious fusion track on the album. Great drumming by Peter Erskine on that track. There are some ethnic flavoured vocals on the opening track "The Pursuit of the Woman With the" and some soul styled vocals on the last track "And Then" but the rest of the album is instrumental. Some might find the title track with it┤s synth bassline (and generally synth heavy sound) and swing rythm a bit of a turn off but to my ears it┤s one of the more interesting tracks on "Mr. Gone".

The jazz side of Weather Report┤s music is toned down a bit on "Mr. Gone" and it┤s actually a rather unique album in their discography. I can see more traditional jazz lovers not enjoying "Mr. Gone" much but for listeners who come from other reference points this could be a very intriguing album and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved. I won┤t give a full 4 star (80%) rating simply because some sections on the album sit a bit too much on the edge of easy listening soft jazz but overall "Mr. Gone" is overall a pretty good album.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#238387)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As I opined in my review, Weather Report's "Heavy Weather" album was the apex of that fine group's creative career due in no small part to the fact that they finally had gotten the perfect personnel in place in 1977 for those sessions. You see, one can assemble the greatest collection of virtuosos in the world but without conjuring up the elusive phenomenon known as interactive chemistry it's just another bunch of hep cats stranded in a room together, hoping for the best. Alas, that special lineup of Weather Report didn't last beyond that one record. "Mr. Gone," the follow up to that joy-filled masterpiece, is a worthwhile endeavor but it's missing the pizzazz and inspiration that made the previous release a trophy gleaming inside the glass case out in the hallway of progressive jazz rock/fusion. For whatever reason tactful drummer Alejandro Neciosup Acuna and fiery percussionist Manola Badrena departed the band and took a big chunk of their heart & soul along with them. They replaced Acuna with a functional, pedestrian drummer named Peter Erskine but didn't bother to find another exuberant percussionist and this album suffers because of both incidents. The result is an LP that doesn't come close to the bar they set with "Heavy Weather" the year before. I only wish it was half as engaging as the cool, imaginative cover art!

Keyboard wizard Joe Zawinul produced this sucker and he's without a doubt the dominant contributor to the project, starting with his "The Pursuit of the Woman with the Feathered Hat." It opens with a synthesizer pattern reminiscent of incidental music for those dated spy/secret agent flicks of the 60s and early 70s (think more along the lines of "In Like Flint" rather than suave Mr. Bond's adventures) and the obligatory high intrigue abounds. A more lighthearted atmosphere develops later on and it ends up with a happy tribal chant of sorts. Curiously, Wayne Shorter's penetrating horn is nowhere to be found. Bassist Jaco Pastorius is listed as the album's co-producer and his "River People" is next. His percolating bass line bubbles and boils in front of an electrified synth backdrop for a while, then they drop into a pseudo disco beat for the remainder of the cut. Zawinul peppers the tune with assorted keyboard phrases and the catchy tonality of the track keeps you interested throughout. Yet there's still no sign of Wayne.

Oh, here he is. Maybe he was caught in traffic but he makes his presence known at last on Joe Z's so-so "Young and Fine." It has a complex jazz progression, to be sure, but Peter's drums are kept so low in the mix that they're almost non-existent, depriving the song of any drive or energy. Eventually the tune turns into a cluttered jam, lacking the usual Weather Report charm and grace we've all come to expect. Shorter's "The Elders" follows and it sports a dreamy fade-in that leads to a notably abstract structure, moody but enveloping nonetheless. This is the kind of eclectic, ethereal composition that sets this group apart from the pretenders. Too bad there's not more like it.

Zawinul's "Mr. Gone" begins with an ominous, roiling synth note simmering underneath a suspended cage that emits strange noises before a jazzy, walking bass line takes over. Except that it's not our talented boy Jaco performing it, it's Joe on his ARP, making this come off more as a solo extravaganza than a unified, cooperative effort. He tosses in some mellow big band-style riffs here and there but the number never develops into anything memorable or exciting. Pastorius' fun "Punk Jazz" is next and it's one of the highlights of the album. He demonstrates his fleet-as-frightened-ferrets fingering on the fretboard explicitly as he sprints over Erskine's scatting drums during the intro and then they come to a screeching halt suddenly. After that they drift into a kind of West Coast funk R&B thang that brings to mind Steely Dan's wry attitude with bright synthesizer chording complimenting Shorter's playfully agile soprano sax. This one's a humdinger and added a full star to my rating.

Wayne's "Pinocchio" fades into what sounds like a tune-in-progress and while it's one of the most difficult and intricate songs included here it's also the shortest, coming in at a brisk 2:25. That's surprising because this isn't a particularly lengthy outing from these guys and it would seem that they could've expanded on this challenging piece of music. They close with Zawinul's "And Then," a slower-paced cut that emphasizes Jaco's signature fretless bass technique to its distinct advantage but then a flurry of Motown-ish soul singing enters abruptly and the spell they were weaving is broken immediately. Adding in completely unrelated vocals was a bad idea that should've been shot down in flames early on (and perhaps an outside producer would have done just that). Not sure what they were aiming for but it fails as miserably as the Bay of Pigs invasion, ending the album on an unsavory note.

I've always been convinced that musically a group is only as good as its drummer and I offer "Mr. Gone" as a solid example of that tenet. It's really not a matter of Erskine being sub-par, per se. On the contrary, I'd have to be able to hear him to determine that. For reasons beyond my understanding Joe, Jaco and Wayne opted to keep the percussion section way, way down in the overall scheme and, in the process of doing that, they drained most of the life out of the music they recorded here. Since I'm not privy to the strained inner dynamics, clashes of personality or expiring green cards that caused Acuna & Badrena to exit stage left in such a rush I'm left with only unanswered questions as to why. What I do know for sure is that while "Mr. Gone" is not a total waste of time, it pales in comparison to the sublime magic that Weather Report was capable of concocting. 2.9 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#255333)
Posted Wednesday, December 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Heavy Weather is Gone

Mr. Gone by Weather Report continues with the friendlier Jazz Fusion style that began with Black Market; so long are the free jazz roots and experimentation from their early albums, Joe Zawinul is repleted with the latest toys and Jaco is shining with his fretless. This incarnation of Weather Report, with Jaco Pastorius on board, is a catchier affair.

Unquestionably, Mr. Gone is nowhere near the perfection and beauty achieved in Heavy Weather neither near to the sophistication of Black Market, yet Mr. Gone still manages to offer some new and memorable material, although as an album overall it is average.

The tunes River People, And Then, Young and Fine, The Pursuit of the Woman.... and Pinnocchio could have easily been in the already mentioned albums. They all have some catchy hooks with a very friendly sound, and they are all very well arranged, specially the, unfortunately, short And Then with the presence of the majestic vocals of Maurice White, yeah the lead singer of Earth, Wind & Fire.

The tracks I haven't mentioned are three, Punk Jazz, The Elders and the title track, each written by a different core member of this incarnation of the band: Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, respectively. These three tunes are the weakest part of the album, they don't have much to do with the friendly style the rest of the album offers, and overall they are rather forgettable.

Mr. Gone, like I previously stated, is a decent Jazz Fusion record that will surely satisfy any fan of not-very- demanding jazz rock/fusion; it has 5 pretty good tracks that will surely be enjoyed by fans of Heavy Weather, and also probably of Black Market.

3 stars: pleasing jazz fusion with originality, though not much complexity nor innovation.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#280435)
Posted Monday, May 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars I originally thought the title of this album, "Mr. Gone", referred to the drummer in this band. Apparently, at this time Weather Report was using a committee of drummers. On this album, drums are credited to Peter Erskine, Steve Gadd, Tony Williams, and even Jaco Pastorius.

But on recent listens, I believe the title refers to the band's producer. Yeah< I know Josef Zawinul and Jaco are credited with producing this album, but it appears no one was really thinking about the final product. Too many songs fade in, giving the album an unfinished and unpolished feel. And the mix is terrible. At many times Wayne Shorter's sax solos are buried in the mess of sound.

Good points. Well, there's Jaco's solo, Punk Jazz, which is a great solo, but has absolutely nothing to do with punk. And then there's Wayne Shorter's Pinocchio, where it feels like we missed something at the beginning, as this is one of the songs with an awful fade in. At least it's aggressive and spirited, words I usually can't use to describe Weather Report's music.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#570120)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permalink

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