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Weather Report - Heavy Weather CD (album) cover


Weather Report


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.67 | 273 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars My late exposure to the music of Weather Report has made me realize (belatedly) the range of influence they enjoyed at the height of their popularity in the mid 1970s. How many other bands of the era, from all over the world (PASSPORT in Germany; SECRET OYSTER in Copenhagen; several of the so-called Canterbury groups; even the Italian symphonic proggers of PFM in their "Jet Lag" phase) were tracing from the same template created by Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter?

But popularity doesn't come without a price, and there's more than a hint of complacency behind this 1977 album, the band's most commercially successful effort. Whatever sharp edges their music may have once had were carefully smoothed away here, and the result is an undeniably pleasant but hardly challenging model of mainstream Jazz-Rock Fusion, unlikely to offend even the knee-jerk prejudices of the resolutely anti-prog music press.

The ubiquitous hit song "Birdland" sets an attractive pace, opening the album with a relentlessly catchy rhythm and more hooks than a bait shop. But elsewhere the LP hardly lives up to its assertive title and apocalyptic cover art. The percussion duo of Alejandro Acuņa and Manolo Badrem are allowed a few energetic minutes of uninhibited mayhem on "Rumba Mama" (recorded live at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival), but all the flailing timbales and manic shouting sound misplaced alongside the more circumspect studio jamming elsewhere on the album.

The musicianship is, I hardly need add, never less than outstanding throughout: any group formed around a nucleus of Zawinul, Shorter, and the virtuoso skills of bass guitar legend Jaco Pastorius is going to be simply beyond criticism. But here they pulled their musical punches somewhat, sacrificing just enough of their collective individuality to attract a wider spectrum of listeners.

In the overall timeline of the band it remains an important album, but despite all the rewards and acclaim hardly their best effort.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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