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Weather Report

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Weather Report Tale Spinnin' album cover
3.65 | 135 ratings | 8 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Man in the Green Shirt (6:28)
2. Lusitanos (7:24)
3. Between the Thighs (9:33)
4. Badia (5:20)
5. Freezing Fire (7:29)
6. Five Short Stories (6:56)

Total Time: 43:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Joe Zawinul / piano, Rhodes, Tonto & ARP 2600 synths, melodica (1,4), organ (2,6), steel drums (3), out (4), mzuthra (4), vocals (4), West African xylophone (4), cymbals (5), orchestration, co-producer
- Wayne Shorter / soprano & tenor saxophones, co-producer & mixing
- Alphonso Johnson / bass
- Leon Ndugu Chancler / drums, timpani, marching cymbals
- Alyrio Lima / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Teresa Alfieri & John Berg with William D. KIng (ilustrations)

LP Columbia ‎- PC 33417 (1975, US)
LP Columbia ‎- PC 33417 (2012 Europe) Remaster

CD Columbia ‎- CK 57905 (1994, US) Remaster by Vic Anesini
CD Columbia ‎- 507656 2 (2002, Europe) Remastered by Mark Wilder and Seth Foster

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy WEATHER REPORT Tale Spinnin' Music

WEATHER REPORT Tale Spinnin' ratings distribution

(135 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WEATHER REPORT Tale Spinnin' reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record contains very good funky jazz music. It still contains some relaxing, floating and experimental moments like on the previous record "Mysterious traveller", but less intensively; it is really disciplined and well structured! The bass and drums can be really fast, like on "Man in the green shirt" and on "Freezing fire". The VERY expressive saxes are omnipresent and they are played quite loud. The songs can be quite rhythmic and very colorful. The keyboards complete well the arrangements and they fully participate to the musical output. There are some primitive percussions too: it gives an African influence to the whole. I would say this record stands between the Eberhard Weber's solo carrer of the 70's and the Frank Zappa's albums around 1970, like Hot Rats, Grand Wazoo and Waka/Jawaka; however, Weather Report has a curious & enigmatic signature that puts them into a class apart.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Fifth album from one of the most successful JR/F band at the time (and since), Tale Spinning is a big improvement over the weak Mysterious Traveller, even if by now the funk-jazz direction (instead of jazz-rock in their first albums) is the main ingredient in their music. While the immutable Shorter/Zawinul duo and bassist Al Johnson, but an ever-changing percussion duo (this time Latino- African), this album veers some more towards ethnic fusion, fusion well depicted in the front and back cover artwork.

The now-usual lightly-prog jazz-funk fusion of Man In The Green Shirt is a good starter, but the following proggier Lusitanos (nothing Portuguese-sounding to me) fails to enthuse me. Much more exciting is the sexy Between The Thighs, which reminisces towards their great Sweetnighter album and even a straight jazz break somewhere around the halfway-mark.

The flipside starts with the Far-Eastern sounding Badia, the one track that really stands out from the rest of the album, and is a bit of a hit and miss affair: there are some average ideas brilliant executed, but also some excellent ideas averagely translated to music. On the whole Badia is very good but fails to convince. The aptly-titled Freezing Fire is again a typical example of hot and cold, hit and miss, and a clear relapse into the poor Mysterious Traveller album's repetitive jazz-funk. Rounding off the album is the Zawinul-penned Five Short Stories, which only features him and Shorter, and is a sleeper.

I may come across as harsh on WR, by saying that TS is just another average WR album (but that also means very good to most other standards than WR's) that most casual could easily do without if they have already a couple of them. While I don't condemn the album (quite the contrary), I suggest that this album is for dedicated and confirmed WR fans, but still a worthy but non-essential album for progheads.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is a disappointment for me after the amazing (and my favourite from them) "Mysterious Traveller". It still astounds me how different this band can sound from album to album. For me the first two tracks sound light and commercial, and I really can't stand poppy Jazz. So they get off on the wrong foot in a big way for me but make up for it with the remaining 4 tracks. Interseting that Zawinul is using a "Tonto synthesizer system" on this record (first three tracks).Tom Ozric told me it's "a custom built synth from Malcolm Cecil / Robert Margouleff of TONTO'S EXPANDING HEAD BAND". TONTO stands for "The Original New Timbral Orchestra".

"Man In The Green Shirt" is light, soft Jazz with the Tontos sounds coming and going. Sax takes the lead before 2 minutes. It settles a minute later with sax still out in front. "Lustitanos" is another mellow and jazzy tune with prominant sax.The sound does get fuller but then it settles again with piano after 3 minute. "Between The Thighs" is for me the best song by far. It quickly builds to a good soundscape. Lots going on after 2 minutes. Nice. Steady drum work here with sax playing over top. I like when it settles after 4 1/2 minutes. Great bass from Johnson 6 minutes in as intricate sounds continue.

"Badia" opens with some atmosphere.The tempo picks up before 3 minutes but it's brief. "Freezing Fire" features some outstanding drum and bass work throughout. "Five Short Stories" is very laid back with acoustic piano, some organ and sax leading the way. I like this one.

Well, of their first 6 studio albums i'd rate this as the fifth best.The "RYM" site rates it sixth. Still this is WEATHER REPORT and they only know how to make good music. 3.5 stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Tale Spinnin'" is the 5th full-length studio album by US jazz rock/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia/CBS in May 1975. Bassist Alphonso Johnson, keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter are left from the lineup that recorded "Mysterious Traveller (1974)" while Leon Ndugu Chancler is new behind the drums and Alyrio Lima is the new percussionist.

Ultimately "Tale Spinnin'" comes off as a very different album compared to itīs predecessors. The style is still jazz rock/fusion but the tracks are more tightly structured with memorable themes and a more funky rythmic feeling. One of the things I noticed right away, compared to previous releases, is the less adventurous rythm playing. Where earlier rythm sections in Weather Report were wild and adventurous this new rythm section generally seem content with being a backing group for Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul. I miss the sound on the early albums where all instruments duelled for a place in the spotlight. Thereīre also much more focus on latin and African ethnic influences on "Tale Spinnin'" than ever before and even though such influences can work wonders in some cases, they take away some of the bandīs otherwise furious edge. Those influences provide the music a kind of holiday easy listening atmosphere, that generally doesnīt suit Weather Report well.

The musicianship is of course on a high level even though the rythm section sounds really subdued compared to earlier rythm sections in Weather Report. They are still incredibly skilled though. Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul steals the spotlight completely on this album and their contributions are as usual also of a very high quality. Joe Zawinulīs tasteful use of various acoustic & electric pianos and keyboards/synths is stunning to say the least and Wayne Shorterīs more and more melodic and theme based playing is enjoyable too.

"Tale Spinnin'" is not what I expected after listening to albums like "I Sing The Body Electric (1972)", "Sweetnighter (1973)" and "Mysterious Traveller (1974)", which were all incredible albums. Itīs not that itīs a bad album but compared to earlier output itīs simply a bit tame. When you start your album with a theme that sounds like the main theme from "M.A.S.H", you just know that something isnīt right. With that said "Tale Spinnin'" is still an enjoyable and technically strong album (well written if you enjoy the new musical direction, well produced and very well played) by Weather Report and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Tale Spinnin' will never go down as Weather Report's most recommended album. It is too uneven for that and can't seem to make up its mind between the more accessible sound of the opening tracks and the more personal fluid world-fusion style on the album's stronger cuts.

Man in the Green Shirt is a mostly forgettable opener with some light-jazz melodies and sound effects struggling against a nervous-funky rhythm. None of it really works. Lusitanos isn't any better and seems to announce the sort of commercial streamlined jazz direction they would take on Heavy Weather.

With Between the Thighs we're set for more interesting music, the poppy melodies are discarded in favor of more intricate improvisations with great interplay between the soloists. Also Freezing Fire is an energy-fused track but rather pointless. The world music inspired Badia is more mesmerizing. Also Five Short Stories has that Weather Report trademark dreamy-mellow quality of earlier years, only slightly less memorable here.

Three weak tracks and two excellent, one good. Hardly sounds like a three stars and if it's still an ok addition for fans of the band, it's too inconsistent for higher praise.

Review by Isa
4 stars |B-| A diverse, over-complicated, groovy, and occasionally beautiful work of jazz-fusion.

Tale Spinnin' seems the be considered somewhat of the red-headed stepchild of the group's early work (as in before the famed Heavy Weather, I suppose). As it has been awhile since I've done a review on here, I figured I'd do this one since I should probably give my LP copy back to my old friends (from whom I borrowed it) at some point soon. As this is my first real excursion into Weather Report's music, I don't have other albums for comparison, so this review will be very much focused on the album in it of itself (unlike most reviews on it) in the context my general understanding of jazz-fusion, which is limited but not in ignorance.

I think this bit from the liner notes can tell a lot about the unique variety of jazz-fusion that this particular album might possess: "The harmonies of Tale Spinnin' come from street celebrations, the harmonies of different peoples of different cultures gathering to participate in the most basic and essential of musical activities, song and dance." And as it also says in the liner notes, harmony, for Weather report, is synonymous with music itself, and that dance itself had a lot to do with their mentality in creating the album.

Thus, I wonder how much of the red-headed stepchild praise on this album is really due to the use of dance harmonies with may not be well understood by more heavily "western culture" oriented people, where the traditional harmonic format is sufficiently different, and thus perhaps less relate-able to most of us in America or Europe, not unlike Piazzolla's work with tango (though he had even more western art music influence, for sure). This might just be speculation on my part, but I've been exposed to enough Latin American music to have some foundation in that assertion, I hope.

Anyway, on to my musical analysis: Man in the Green Shirt was, as far as the liner notes say, inspired by an old man in a green shirt dancing off to the side to the St. Thomas Steel Band's performance in the Virgin Islands. Lots of creative, brilliant Latin-American percussion for the whole piece, with some great melodies and song-like solo work on the Soprano Sax by Wayne Shorter, one of the biggest names among jazz Saxophonists. I love the dialogue that he and Josef Zawinul have in the between the saxophone solos. This is definitely a complex and heavy piece of jazz fusion. The album quickly breaks into Lusitanos, which is a slower, more groovy, with a heavily "wah"ed out bass, and thick chords from Zawinul. I think this is a pretty cool and interesting piece, really, and Shorter really sings the sax. There's some pretty crazy, awesome work on the piano by Zawinul, which is a real treat since you don't often hear just regular acoustic piano in jazz fusion, or at least I haven't. Between the Thighs (interesting enough title if I might say so...) is probably my favorite work off the album, starting off with a fantastic, groovy riff from the guitar by itself with lots of wah, and the whole piece is just great in the way it unfolds itself into a real dance-able groove, and I especially like Al Johnson's work on bass. I see why this ended up the longest work on the album, I think the band just really locked into a great vibe about the material for this track, and thus kept jamming on it, adding new great ideas to previous great ideas. Flipping the LP over (I know, aren't I so old school...), the piece Badia has a very folk-ethnic sound, using non-western percussion in a solemn, meditative way, with piano harmonies and acoustic bass bends adding to the meditative sound, eventually with a sweet synth melody, and some instruments I've never heard of, Melodica, Mzuthra, West Afric (??). I'll probably look those instruments up after this review. What's more, the main melody is apparently based on a japanese-influenced melody sang by the drummer, Ndugu. it's a really great, beautiful work of art music, probably among the band's best, I'd expect. Freezing Fire is definitely the opposite of the last trick, starting off with more frantic sort of druming, with some heavy, thick long-tone chords from Zawinul, and to me this piece really is the weakest part of the album, the long-tones just don't compliment the fast playing by the drums and bass, it's just a really weird and overly complicated piece, and even Zawinul's solo playing just sounds really technical and, just "there", not adding much to the appeal of the piece, in my opinion, though he plays around with harmony in cools ways every so often. I don't know what the band was thinking making this piece, let alone what they might have been getting at. The next piece Five Short Stories, luckily, starts off with slow, beautiful piano playing, with some great timbre texture experiments with saxophone and organ. There are no drums in the entire work, just lush playing from the two musicians, Shorter and Zawinul.

I'd say I personally enjoy and respect this album enough the warrant it a bit more credit than many others seem to. I understand why some might find it a difficult album, and it does really stretch the ears of the listener on numerous occasions. [However, the main weakness I find in the album, which I recall finding in other material (here and there) that I have heard over the years, is this, from the liner notes: "The music of Weather Report has always been built upon the foundations of details, on the smallest touches," which I feel that the band, whatever their positive attributes, sometimes really fail to see the forest for the trees, often forgetting about the album - and sometimes even a particular piece - as a whole cohesive work, and focusing a bit too much on complicated details constantly.]

Nonetheless, as an enthusiastic, yet occasional connoisseur of jazz-fusion, this is an album which is I always enjoy putting on to simultaneously groove and contemplate, and I do think it to be an "excellent addition to any prog rock music collection", particularly for the jazz-fusion listener.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Continuing Weather Report's shift to more structured compositions and away from the murky primordial soup of Bitches' Brew/In a Silent Way-esque improvisation that characterised their early albums, Tale Spinnin' finds the band still transitioning towards the style that they'd cement on Black Market and Heavy Weather, and whilst I wouldn't put it on the level of Mysterious Traveller it's a pleasant and compelling listen which manages to be accessible and approachable without necessarily compromising the artistic vision behind it - rather, the band's concept seems to have moved on from its roots definitively at this point. It's now more precise, more technical, less loose and flowing - still good in its own way, but it took a while to grow on me.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The previous album, Mysterious Traveler, is Weather Report's masterpiece, but Tale Spinnin' occupies more time on my turntable. The music is a virtuousic explosion of colors and emotions: Shorter is at a melodic and expressive peak, Zawinul serves up some of the most organic synthesizer playing ... (read more)

Report this review (#39546) | Posted by | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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