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Weather Report - Black Market CD (album) cover


Weather Report


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.02 | 308 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Often overshadowed by Weather Report's next album, "Heavy Weather", this album is at least as good, and has to my ear fresher tunes and arrangements. Not that Heavy Weather isn't great, but Black Market has more delicate, subtle approach, if such terms can ever be applied to jazz fusion.

As another reviewer says, this is Zawinul doing world music - in particular the whole thing has an African feel to it. Some tracks are overdubbed with sounds of e.g. a train, a fog horn, the ocean - normally just the sort of things to annoy this listener but in the context of this album they work very well.

This is the album on which Jaco Pastorius joined the band, though he only plays on two tracks, the rest being down to the more lyrical but less flashy, Alphonso Johnson. The sleeve notes tell us that Zawinul resisted Jaco's please to join the band until Johnson left of his own accord. It's Johnson here though that excels, in particular on "Gibraltar", my personal favourite.

The tracks in order are: 1) Black Market - a Zawinul compostion with Shorter on (I think) lyricon; 2) Cannonball, Zawinul's tribute to the recently departed Cannonball Adderley, a shorter track with more of a structure than most, and featuring Jaco on bass (and it is a grandstand performance); then the aforesaid 3) Gibraltar in which Zawinul and Shorter weave tunes, held together by Johnson's great bass lines. All these three tracks are Zawinul compositions. Side 2 as was on vinyl features 4) Elegant People - a really great Shorter contribution with a memorable melody, and great sax playing from the man; 5) Three Clowns - Shorter again - this merits repeat listenings, although it lacks the immediacy of some of the other tracks; 6) Barbary Coast - the shortest track, penned by Pastorius; and finally 7) Herandu which is by Johnson, his swansong with the band, that starts and finishes with a great sequence, book ending improvisational playing from the two leads, Shorter and Zawinul.

Unlike some so called fusion, it could never be accused of being bland - but it is a real pleasure to listen to over again. And it's lasted well - doesn't sound over 30 years old. A thoroughly enjoyable listen. A solid 4 stars.

Phil | 4/5 |


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