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Weather Report - I Sing The Body Electric CD (album) cover


Weather Report


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.77 | 159 ratings

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3 stars This album was a shock to my Weather Report-experienced ears since, after hearing the band's later albums, I wasn't really expecting this type of Miles Davis-experimental Jazz music to be featured on their earlier releases. I guess that this was only natural considering that both Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul collaborated with Miles in the past. Personally I'm still on the fence about the landmark album Bitches Brew which I find to be an adventurous and daring experiment on the part of everyone involved in that project. Still, that album was just the first stepping stone towards a style that would later be expanded towards a more mature state. This doesn't really happen on I Sing The Body Electric since this release features one side of studio performances while the other consists of shortened-down live improvisational jam music.

To be honest I don't think that the material on side one can be considered an expansion of the earlier Miles Davis' albums since this sounds more like a continuation of that same style without anything new added to it. This doesn't mean that the music here is bad, on contrary, there are quite a few excellent moments like the dark and aggressive middle section of the opening track Unknown Soldier or the wonderfully performed 7-minute atmospheric piece called Crystal. The latter is especially memorable for Joe Zawinul's underlying electric piano sounds that completely steal the show from Wayne Shorter's saxophone.

Side two just never hit it off with me in the same manner since it offers a completely different side of Weather Report's music that I tend to dismiss as pure improvisation. It gets annoying listening to Shorter and Zawinul trying to steal the spotlight from each other on the 10 minute medley track while Surucucus shows almost everything I dislike about atmospheric improvisational music which comes off sounding pretensions and sloppy. Directions is my favorite piece out of the live material since it keeps the interplay between the two stars relatively short while adding just the right amount of Eric Gravatt's drumming into the mix.

Overall I'm really surprised about the comments that I Sing The Body Electric has received since I always thought that mixing many styles of a band's repertoire on one album makes the material sound disjointed. If I wanted to hear more music in the style of side one then I would much rather pick the underrated band-titled debut album or Live In Tokyo, if I wanted to hear more of the improvisational live material.

***** star songs: Crystal (7:16)

**** star songs: Unknown Soldier (7:57) The Moors (4:40) Second Sunday In August (4:09) Medley: T.H./Dr. Honoris Causa (10:10) Directions (4:35)

*** star songs: Surucucus (7:41)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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