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Weather Report

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Weather Report Night Passage album cover
3.13 | 107 ratings | 7 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Night Passage (6:29)
2. Dream Clock (6:26)
3. Port of Entry (5:09)
4. Forlorn (3:55)
5. Rockin' in Rhythm (3:02)
6. Fast City (6:16)
7. Three Views of a Secret (5:50)
8. Madagascar (10:56)

Total Time: 48:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Joe Zawinul / keyboards, co-producer
- Wayne Shorter / saxophones
- Jaco Pastorius / bass, co-producer
- Peter Erskine / drums
- Robert Thomas Jr. / hand drums

Releases information

Tracks 1-7 recorded Live July 12-13, 1980 at The Complex in Santa Monica, California.
Track 8 recorded Live in Osaka, Japan.

Artwork: Pete Turner (photo) with Young Lim

LP Columbia ‎- JC 36793 (1980, US)

CD CBS/Sony ‎- 35DP 8 (1982, Japan)
CD Columbia ‎- CK 36793 (1987, US)
CD Columbia ‎- 468211 2 (1998, Europe) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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WEATHER REPORT Night Passage ratings distribution

(107 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

WEATHER REPORT Night Passage reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Night Passage" (6:29) opens the album with a punctuated keyboard and sax sounds accompanied with jazzy beats of drum and bass guitar. The keyboard and sax play in alternate overlaying the jazz rhythm. Even from this track I can hear clearly how Jaco plays his bass stunningly. "Dream Clock" (6:26) is a complete slow jazz tune. "Port of Entry" (5:09) starts off with a combined sounds of keyboard (with sitar sounds), sax, percussion , drums, and bass guitar. The opening part is nuanced and it has a very nice rhythmic. Sax and keyboard play roles as melody. At a glance it sounds like an explorative music in avant- garde style. But when I observe the beat, it has a sort of predetermined rhythm. The bass guitar solo is accompanied with percussion and drum and gives a wonderful music. The combined solo of keyboard and bass guitar is also excellent. Overall this is one of the song highlight in this album.

"Rockin' in Rhythm" (3:02) is a very nice combination of improvised sax, keyboard and bass guitar with dynamic drumming; performed in relatively fast tempo with jazzy beats. There is a nice bass guitar solo in the middle of the track followed with a big band / swing jazz kind of music style. "Fast City" (6:16) is a dynamic track with sax functioning as rhythm section as well as solo during the tagline melody appearance. Bass guitar and dazzling drum provide the track's dynamic and energetic nuance. This track will favor those of you who love sax improvisation accompanied with solid bass lines. I also like the structure of this track as it changes styles throughout the passage of the track. Having satisfied with sax, bass and drum combined work, Joe Zawinul gives his truly awesome keyboard work! This is one of the best Weather Report's tracks, I would say. "Three Views of a Secret" (5:50) is a slow and nice jazz music featuring soft bass guitar solo, sax and dazzling drum work during transition. "Madagascar" (10:56) is another good track that is explorative in style - combining many solos in ambience.

Overall, it's a very good album with good composition, talented musicians and good overall performance. Keep on proggin' ..!

Review by Flucktrot
2 stars Night Passage is a palatable combination of semi-interesting jazz and sleep-inducing adult contemporary stylings. Pleasant? Yes. Progressive? For 1980, hardly.

Highlights: Night Passage, Port of Entry, Fast City, Madagascar. Overall, there is nothing too spectacular to be found, given the ground that fusion had covered in the previous decade. These are at least more upbeat, with some decent (though often somewhat restrained) percussion, and of course feature some great basslines from Pastorius. Now I know what the hype about this guy is for-- if the song allows (read: has a beat), he provides some great bass grooves. Overall these songs feature the horns in carrying the melody, and sometimes decent keyboard runs or hand drums are thrown in. Unfortunately, none of the melodies are especially captivating, and as a result the tunes basically run together. The exception is Madagascar, which at over 10 minutes includes too much rambling, but when it gets going for the final three minutes, you are treated to the best fusion on the album (if you've held out that long).

Dream Clock, Forlorn, Three Views of a Secret. If you want relaxing, adult contemporary to fall asleep to, this will do the trick. If you want something to get your feet tapping or grab your attention, you won't find it here (excepting the occasional irresistable fretless bass wail from Pastorius).

What we have here is a collection of decent music that settles into a familiar, and in my opinion boring, tried-and-true format for jazz. There is only one musician who displays any virtuosity, and the rest of the players really fail to deliver interesting texture or creativity. If you love Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever, be warned that this will seem very tame by comparison.

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars By the turn of the decade, WR was simply in the habit of doing one more album (this is the ninth or tenth studio, not sure exactly), and this was no more an event, nor was eagerly awaited by fans, for everything the group had to say was a long time exhausted. Although not a bad album (certainly better than the atrocious Mr Gone, but nothing compared to their early works), Night Passages is nothing to stand up and take notice: just business as usual. So much so, that NP could almost be regarded as regressive for their music had become so formulaic by now (from Black Market onwards), that it becomes so "safe" (and boring), no matter how tricky and flawlessly played. I realize I sound rather negative, but I can't find much positive to say (well I could rave upon the individual virtuoso qualities of every member of the group), especially regarding the energy level. When the group eventually manage to raise their music above the soporific level, they can't hold it up long to get the listener's attention and wake him, and with the next track, WR lets him plunge back in his lethargy, from which it was even inconsiderate to pull him from for so few reasons.

Whether the boring opening title track, or the big band-style of Ellington's Rockin' In Rhythm to the uber- uncool show-offy Fast City (Pastorius in insufferably overdoing everything as usual), to the soporific Forlorn and finally the overlong (11 mins) Madagascar overstaying its welcome already halfway through, this album exudes boredom through every pore and groove of the disc. Zawinul's keyboard choices are better than in Mr Gone and Sporting Life, but this is about the only positive point, because Shorter is almost invisible (bar an excellent solo in the last track), while Erskine (still the new kid on the block) does pretty well what he's told. This should be one of the last album Pastorius played on, before his untimely death, but it's really not making it a better album.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Night Passage" is the 9th full-length album by US jazz rock/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia Records in late 1980. While it is not credited as a live album, tracks 1 -7 on "Night Passage" are actually recorded live in the studio before an audience of 250 people in August 1980. The last track on the album titled "Madagascar" was recorded live in Osaka, Japan, in June of the same year. The lineup on the album is almost the same that recorded the often scolded predecessor "Mr. Gone (1978)". Robert Thomas Jr. is new on percussion though.

While the heavily synth laden and layered "Mr. Gone (1978)" was more than anything Joe Zawinul´s (keyboards, synthesizers) album, "Night Passage" is a bit more balanced and oozes of a return to more jazzy territories. Wayne Shorter´s saxophone playing is much more prominant on "Night Passage" than was the case on the last couple of albums. The rythm section is fantastic on this album too. Out of the first three albums with Jaco Pastorius on bass, "Night Passage" is the most impressive one from his side. Some of the things he plays on this album are outstanding. Just listen to his performance on a song like "Port of Entry". Just brilliant. The drumming by Peter Erskine is also outstanding and greatly enjoyable while the percussion playing by Robert Thomas Jr. adds a special exotic flavour to Weather Report´s music. What is most interesting about "Night Passage", in addition to the outstanding musicianship, is the high quality of the compositions. There´s great variation on the album and not a single track is sub par to the rest.

The production is excellent. Organic, warm and powerful.

"Night Passage" is what I consider a return to form for a band that had wandered a bit too far away from their "sound" on the last couple of albums. "Heavy Weather (1977)", which is one of the band´s most commercially successful albums, is a bit too light weight and accessible fusion to my ears and "Mr. Gone (1978)" sounds too much like a Joe Zawinul solo album instead of a group effort, so listening to "Night Passage" where it seems the band are really enjoying themselves, without thinking too much about anything else, is greatly enjoyable. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Kazuhiro
3 stars The fact to which two people (Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter) had pulled the band as a leader of the bicephalic was a joyous occasion for the fan. Directionality that Jazz/Fusion is new might have been produced as a certain part by grace of musicians who were related to the band as for the idea and two performances that had done. It might be a little difficult to enumerate a favorite work for the fan of Weather Report. The sense that musicians who are related to the band by the work concentrate and is performed is transmitted enough to the listener.

"8:30" of the live album announced as a work that tells the activity of the Weather Report in 1979 is existence of the band as a live album including a new song at that time. The future of the band that faces it ..content to have a presentiment.. has been finished to the 80's. It was a content of the compilation that offered the listener the directionality of the music that the band had done till then enough in this live album.

Elements of musical instruments that multiplied at latter term in the middle of the 70's and were made electronic for the item of Jazz/Fusion might be established, various musicians challenge, and the idea produced while groping become basic of Jazz/Fusion enough. It will not be an exaggeration to say that they are those pioneers for Weather Report of course.

Fact that Herbie Hancock made electronic as important flow in the 70's attached importance to recurrences such as Trio and V.S.O.P. to acoustic part. Or, wonderful of those music is recognized again. And, Wayne Shorter to establish the activity with Weather Report enough is related. People might temporarily have had time when the upsurge to an acoustic part had been recognized again. However, many of the performance and the idea that Weather Report had done might have contained a universal factor as a style.

The band that reached a certain kind of top in "8:30" naturally rushed into the 80's. The form and the idea of the band reigned as existence that exactly showed an important position in the world of Jazz/Fusion. The line of the rhythm of Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine is established enough and might show the music in the 80's that the band thinks about enough in this album. It is likely to be able to catch as one of the albums by which this album built the bridge from the 70's to the 80's for the item of Jazz/Fusion if it considers it from the respect.

Might it expect in the idea based on the rhythm of the shuffle of "Night Passage" and the listener have been expecting it of Weather Report in the 80's that the band thought about. Or, a universal band of "Dream Clock" creates and a beautiful melody. "Port Of Entry" impressive fast Passage that Wayne Shorter composed. And, the listener is invited to the crucible of the excitement "Fast City". "Three Views Of A Secret" in the tune of Weather report by Jaco famous as one of the masterpieces.

The form of the band had been established enough and the listener might have imagined the future of the band. And, the band rushes into by centering on this album in the 80's. The form of music is indeed revolutionized for Weather Report. However, the style might succeed in musicians' who are related to the work at the same time as consistent having the idea's being splendidly made an embodiment.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is really one of those albums that requires a few listenings; the music has to grow on you a bit. I'll be the first to admit that I was a tad meh'ish upon my first listening, but by the 3rd or 4th listening, I was really starting to appreciate what was going on. You can't fairly compare thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#846069) | Posted by yamarolort | Sunday, October 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm not convinced Weather Report can by any stretch be called "prog" but I've always enjoyed what music of theirs I've heard, which has been mostly from the Jaco Pastorious era. The difference between them and say Mahavishnu was that Weather Report were a jazz band that used electronic instrument ... (read more)

Report this review (#41496) | Posted by Phil | Thursday, August 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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