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Weather Report

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Weather Report Heavy Weather album cover
3.74 | 321 ratings | 31 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Birdland (5:57)
2. A Remark You Made (6:51)
3. Teen Town (2:51)
4. Harlequin (3:59)
5. Rumba Mama (2:11)
6. Palladium (4:46)
7. The Juggler (5:03)
8. Havona (6:01)

Total Time 37:39

Bonus tracks on 2014 boxed set "The Columbia Albums" reissue:
9. Black Market (live) (9:26) *
10. Teen Town (live) (6:30) *
11. Birdland (live) (6:36) °

* September 10, 1977 at The Rainbow, London
° March 2, 1979 at the Karl Marx Theatre, Havana - Previously Unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Joe Zawinul / Oberheim polyphonic & ARP 2600 synths, acoustic & Rhodes electric pianos, guitar, melodica, tabla, vocals, orchestrations, co-producer
- Wayne Shorter / soprano & tenor saxophones, assistant producer
- Jaco Pastorius / bass, mandocello, drums, steel drums, vocals, co-producer
- Alejandro Acuņa / drums, congas, tom toms, handclaps (excl.11)
- Manolo Badrena / tambourine, congas, timbales, percussion, vocals (excl. 11)

- Peter Erskine / drums (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Lou Beach with Nancy Donald (design)

LP CBS - CBS 81775 (1977, Europe)
LP Columbia - PC 34418 (1977, US)

CD Columbia - CK 34418 (1984, US)
CD Columbia - 468209 2 (1991, Europe) 20-bit remaster by Scott Hull
CD Columbia/ Legacy - CK 65108 (1997, US) 20-bit remaster by Mark Wilder
CD Columbia - 88697 93940 2 (2014, Europe) Remastered by Maria Triana and Mark Wilder w/ 3 bonus tracks (Part of a 6-CD Box Set titled "The Columbia Albums 1976-1982")

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy WEATHER REPORT Heavy Weather Music

WEATHER REPORT Heavy Weather ratings distribution

(321 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WEATHER REPORT Heavy Weather reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zitro
3 stars 3.5 Stars.

This is clearly a great jazz album but I miss the adventure of it. I really loved it at first spin, but I have to conclude that this is very simplistic jazz/fusion. If you like relaxing jazz-rock with the BASS GOD (Jaco Pastorius), then this is for you. Jaco Pastorius is indeed a brilliant fretless bass player who made some bass virtuosos like Jonas Reingold (Flower Kings) and Pedro Aznar (Pat Metheny and Seru Giran) sound exactly like him.

Birdland is easily my favourity track in the album, even if it is the most commercial. It is just so damn catchy. I love the melody! "A remark You Made" is laid back and a little slow, but you can get to hear JAco Pastorius' lovely bass sound. There are also synthesizers present. The short "Teen Town" is a spot allowed for Jaco Pastorius. Bass freaks should listen to this track. Harlequin and Juggler are softer tracks while Paladium is fast paced, and Rumba Mama is a drum solo ruined by some irritating Spanish vocals. Havona has amazing bass playing, especially at the end.

Highlights: Birdland, Teen Town, Havona

Letdowns: None

My Grade : B/C

Review by daveconn
5 stars Beginning with an irresistible invitation to the dance ("Birdland"), Heavy Weather is a brilliant balancing act that shows off every facet of this remarkably talented band. After the opening "Birdland," a truly celestial celebration of sound, Heavy Weather delves into the gentle, peaceful "A Remark You Made," only to shake off that dewy sleep with Pastorius' patented percussive magic on the invigorating "Teen Town." It's this alternating between different styles and composers that likens hearing Heavy Weather to looking at a finely cut gem in the light. The musical ground covered on this outing, and the unerring quality of the compositions themselves, are a powerful combination. Individually, these songs rank with the band's best: "Harlequin" melting like a timepiece in the sun, Zawinul's magical portrait of "The Juggler," "Palladium" dancing like a bug in dappled sunlight, each arrangement a near reinvention of the band that played on the preceding track. Invariably, my favorite track on Heavy Weather is the track playing at the moment; even the live percussion solo "Rumba Mama" shines when the time comes. Note that the Columbia/Legacy remaster from 1992 sounds terrific on disc and features nice liner notes from Peter Keepnews, so I'd start there first. And I'd start here if you're approaching Weather Report for the first time. This is arguably their greatest album, and thus one of the great fusion albums of all time. Best of all, nuances in the music continually come to light, so even on a rainy day (like today) an old standby like Heavy Weather can make staying indoors a pleasure.
Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a fantastic album. I was introduced to this at a time when I didn't know much about jazz. It immediately became a highlight of my music collection. Copies have been lost, or worn out, but I always replace them as soon as possible. "Heavy Weather" will always be found in my home.

This is fusion at its best. "Birdland" became an instant classic, and sounds just as vital today. There are some lovely mellow moments. "A Remark You Made" is very touching. "Harlequin" is very smooth, and quite playful at times. "Teen Town" should be heard by any fan of the bass. No, scratch that, it should be heard by everyone. If for nothing else, to see just why Jaco Pastorius is held in such high regard. Not impressed? Then listen to "Havona." The man was from another planet. Actually, the whole band goes nuts on this one. "Rumba Mama" is a great Latin drum shout, and a bit of an odd number for an album like this.

This music is actually more jazz than rock. It is however some very proggy jazz. I view this as a masterpiece of music. If I were not constrained to the realm of prog, it would get five stars. It gets four, because I don't believe it is essential for a prog collection. Get it anyway.

H.T. Riekels

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

With Black Market, Heavy Weather is the best-selling jazz-rock album of all time, but by all means it is completely over-rated on this writer's advice. With Chester Thompson out (left for Genesis) and replaced by Aruna, this album pretty well follows its predecessor's path, and the artwork is very "prog" and their best yet. One of the remarks I have for this album is it lacks power but it seems its powers are virtuoso playing (not denying it), soul (this cold jazz has me really wondering whether it is indeed the case) and but certainly not finesse, IMHO.

With the jazz crossover jazz-rock of Birdland, the album starts fairly weakly, partly because of a twee motif chorus and lack of power, something I simply don't expect (or want) from WR. But the pain is not over as A Remark You Made is one of those ugly syrupy love ballad for late-night slows jazz clubs. Teen Town is a Pastorious excuse to put his bass on the forefront while Harlequin musically sits between Birdland and Remark, with a Zawinul synth sound sounding much like Toots Thieleman's harmonica. The whole side sounding listless to this listener.

The flipside is an altogether different affair, starting on an African percussion Rumba Mama live ditty which has absolutely no musical relation whatsoever with the rest of the album. But comes Palladium with the first power chords opening the song, but that's about has loud as it will get on the whole album: indeed the track settles in a funky groove where Shorter's sax and Zawinul's Rhodes dominate the forefront, but we are in the MT and TS album mode, which means killer funk. Easily the best track of the album. The Juggler juggles with the styles previously approached on the album between funk jazz, soft jazz, and syrupy fusion. The closing Havona is bettering the average of the album with a changing structure and some very interesting developments.

As warned ahead of time (read my BM review), HW is really not the masterpiece everyone seems to be hinting at and if not for the flipside, it would sink heavily. Directionless, often powerless (Aruna is no Chester Thompson) and "anything goes" seem to be the unwanted trademark, here. With only the Havona and Palladium tracks being worthy of earlier albums, it is just possible this writer is missing the point of this stage in WR's career, but whether or not, I just don't like it.

Review by Flucktrot
2 stars Heavy Weather features absolute highlights with the opening and closing tracks, though the stuff in the middle does not match the liveliness or catchiness of the bookends. If you are interested in getting more familiar with Weather Report, this is not a bad place to start, as they are not quite as subdued (read: boring) as on other less inspiring albums. However, beware that their sound seems a bit sanitized, and if you want raw, power jazz, you should look elsewhere.

Highlights: Birdland, Havona. If you're not familiar with Birdland, you probably should be--possibly reason enough to check out this album. Nothing groundbreaking, but irresistably catchy. I remember playing this tune in my high school band--good memories! With Havona, Weather Report finally take the gloves off and decide to make some serious fusion. This one has some great keyboard runs, energetic drum outbursts, and of course great bass from Pastorius (either fast rhythm playing or soloing--he's great in both modes!).

The rest: I guess there aren't any lowlights, but the other songs really fail to distinguish themselves to my ears. We have the mellow (and forgettable) tunes (A Remark You Made, Harlequin), the short and playful tunes (Teen Town, Rumba Mama) and the songs that attempt fusion but end up doing little of anything (Palladium, The Juggler).

My take is that to create good jazz, you at least need a combination of catchy melodies, virtuosic playing, or intense interplay. Birdland and Havona by and large deliver at least one or two of those combinations each. The rest of the songs don't, although there's nothing annoying to be found on this album. Nice album to have, but certainly not necessary, even for jazz proggers.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars Poppy jazz-fusion at its slickest, you really couldn't find any tune in the fusion arena much catchier and dancier than ''Birdland''. HEAVY WEATHER is one of the more known Weather Report albums, but I believe Jaco Pastorius's appearance as the sole bass player has something to do with it. He adds a technical dimension to the group as nobody could play a flurry of notes like Jaco, and the horn-like sound of his bass is quite unique. Unfortunately, his over-abundant skill can get in the way of a good composition; ''Teen Town'' starts off nice, but the bass here distracts the good drumming (from Jaco) and sax playing.

The last three tracks are the best from the album, ''The Juggler'' being a choice pick from me as its mesmerizing atmosphere goes virtually unnoticed. ''Birdland'' isn't too bad, but gets old after some time. Between that track and ''Palladium'' is a bunch of nothing. ''Rumba Mama'' is the most questionable track here serving little more than Acuna and Badrena getting some composer credit. For the last three tracks alone, HEAVY WEATHER is a worthy album. Many a progster will be floored by Jaco's skill, but I find the true genius of Weather Report to be in founders Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter.

Review by Neu!mann
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.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The fan to enumerate this album in the highest masterpiece in the history of the music of WR might be not few. The composition of the tune that passes still enough and the melody never to feel old tell the listener the charm. The line's succeeding in the complete replacement of the route that derived from Miles Davis by "Black Market" with the color of WR and showing the establishment of WR resulted.

The line of Zawinul-Shorter established in "Black Market" was a direction of which the color of zawinul had gone out strongly at the same time as showing the directionality of WR. And, the performance of Pastorius that participates in the two works is a result of having a presentiment of new WR. It becomes a loose flow but the result of the connection to this album to the end. As for Shorter that plays the role of Co-Producer in the former work, it moves to assistant Producer and Pastorius has been promoted to Co-Producer in this album. It is understood that it was existence from this point not rare for very WR Pastorius [yuu]. And, it is guessed that Zawinul put trust at the same time for Pastorius.

The composition of the tune of "Black Market" completely decided the route of WR. And, WR became a legend by this album in the item of Jazz/Fusion. The fan to enumerate the performance of Pastorius in one of the charms of WR is not few. His Bass has been completed by perfect Groove and the melody. And, it is proof to make it an embodiment splendidly by using the phrase that musical instruments other than Bass play for the method of his composition that is called him a genius.

The melody such as "Teen Town" is composed of the melody that the current Bass player doesn't hit on. And, the tune , for example, one of the successes of this album is "Birdland". These tunes are copied by various musicians and influence the world.

Element and easiness to listen. a certain kind of POPAnd, the line of Zawinul-Shorter- Pastorius has been established by this album. The composition of the glittering tune that leaps can of the masterpieces.. be counted by dashing out from items of Jazz/Fusion such as "Havona" and "Palladium" in the history of Jazz/fusion.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Heavy Weather" is the 7th full-length studio album by US jazz rock/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia Records in March 1977. There are a couple of changes to the lineup since the last album "Black Market (1976)" as Jaco Pastorius now handles all bass playing in Weather Report. Percussionist Alejandro Neciosup Acuņa predominantly plays drums on "Heavy Weather" and new percussionist Manolo Badrena handles various percussion on the album. Keyboard player Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter are the usual suspects in the lineup.

"Heavy Weather" signals quite a big change in direction and sound for Weather Report. Compared to their earlier more experimental jazz rock/fusion material this album features tight compositional structures and very little improvisation. Thereīs also much more focus on memorable themes. A kind of pop sensibility that Weather Report have not focused on before. Depending on your preferences this will probably either turn you off or on. Iīm leaning towards being turned off but "Heavy Weather" is a diverse album (or a mixed bag if you want to put on the negative glasses) with both really brilliant tracks and some that are not that interesting.

The opening track "Birdland" is without a doubt Weather Reportīs best known and most commercially successful track. While itīs a very accessible and quite easy listening jazz/pop song itīs very cleverly composed and arranged. A real treat this one. The second track "A Remark You Made" is a composition that unfortunately crosses the line of good taste and gives me associations to easy listening eleavator muzak or even worse background music to soft porn/erotic flicks. And itīs usually not the music thatīs the biggest attraction in those kind of movies now is it? The main theme in the song is very well composed though and very memorable. So I donīt question how skilled the band are as composers (or musicians for that matter), but their choice of notes and atmosphere. "Teen Town" is a Jaco Pastorius composition with a beat thatīs akin to disco without ever becoming disco of course. The fourth track on the album "Harlequin" is decent but not spectacular in any way. "Rumba Mama" is a short live percussion and a capella sung track by the two percussionists in the band. Again nothing too special. Then we have "Palladium" which is one of the strongest compositions on "Heavy Weather". Niceīnīfunky. "The Juggler" is back in soft territory but otherwise a good composition. "Havona" closes the album and what a way to end an album! Just feast on that bass playing by Jaco Pastorius. Itīs probably the strongest track on "Heavy Weather" (along with "Birdland") and one of the few tracks on the album that focuses a lot on fusion tinged playing.

The sound production is professional and clean but lacks a bit of the warmth of earlier recordings. Itīs still a pleasant and well sounding seventies recording though. Overall "Heavy Weather" is a pretty decent release by Weather Report. The occasional excellence of tracks like "Birdland", "Palladium" and "Havona" are however not enough to make me rate it higher than with a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A landmark in jazz fusion music, Weather Report's Heavy Weather contains masterful and varied music, ranging from the virtuosic to the placid. Each note is infused with feeling; any music lover should experience this album once in his life- though hopefully many more.

"Birdland" Once upon a time, I played guitar in a high school jazz band, and this was one of the first pieces we ever performed. While we were good, I don't think we quite compared to the original! In my opinion, this is a masterpiece of upbeat jazz, full of fun melodies and noteworthy instrumentation. I love the high-pitched instrumentation working alongside the saxophone, as well as the light drumming and masterful fretless bass-playing. It turns out our humble high school jazz band was just one of several crews putting their own spin on Joe Zanwinul's remarkable instrumental, as it has rightfully become a jazz standard.

"A Remark You Made" Weather Report offers a more sensual touch with soft piano, mellow saxophone from the master Wayne Shorter, and bass leading the way at times. Everything is delightfully smooth, so smooth the listener almost melts. A mellow synthesizer solo takes over toward the end, carrying a rich, velvety tone.

"Teen Town" Jaco Pastorious is the star of this piece of this terse, funky piece, occasionally not even playing at all to let everything breathe and highlight the percussion.

"Harlequin" Retaining the sound of the previous track but adopting a gentler pace, this one has prominent bass. Long notes on the saxophone soar over piano runs. Thanks to the drumming, the overall sound becomes fuller, making this a dynamic work.

"Rumba Mama" A throwaway live track, this is like a pimple on an otherwise flawless face. It consists of percussion and shouted Spanish words- a display of Manolo Badrena's talent, to be sure, but nothing more.

"Palladium" Peppy and full of character, this piece grooves around an amazing rhythm section, featuring electric piano, saxophone, and synthesizer all helping one another in toting the melody.

"The Juggler" Though most of the other pieces are amazing jazz works, this one is the true progressive rock stroke of genius. A poised rhythm with dashing percussion allows for a stylish synthesizer lead and gritty saxophone to do their thing. Overall, this is a melodious, almost Medieval piece, bursting with creativity and pleasing moments.

"Havona" The final instrumental begins with a synthesizer bit, and stellar drumming from Alejandro Acuņa enters. There are other lead instruments, including fantastic piano and sputtering saxophone, but it's hard not to focus on the bass.

Review by Chicapah
5 stars The jazz rock/fusion category is perhaps the most subjective in all of Progdom. Some enthusiasts judge albums in this genre solely by the individual virtuoso performances captured on tape. In other words, they crave the WOW factor more than any other aspect. Nothing wrong with that. Others are more impressed by the mind-blowing spontaneous combustion achieved by combining the right mixture of musicians in a particular session or concert. Still others want the artists to push the envelope to the very edge of musical anarchy. Me, I'm too unknowledgeable and/or ignorant regarding the splendid science of blending jazz with rock that creates a living, breathing hybrid of both to delve too deeply into the mechanics so I just rely on how the recording makes me FEEL. That's why discs like Stanley Clarke's "School Days" and Billy Cobham's "Spectrum" never wander far from the top of my charts. They make me happy when I listen to them. Period. And that's what Weather Report's awesome "Heavy Weather" does for this native Texan of simple means and tastes. As far as it goes with instrumental music in general, the elation sensation can't be overrated.

The six albums this band made before this one have their merits/shortcomings and several are outstanding but they were all leading up to the creation of this, their masterpiece. I and several of my peers in the 70s had been avid admirers of the group all along but none of us was expecting this incredibly cohesive casserole of memorable compositions and flawless production neatly tucked inside such an arresting, slap-me-into- next-week cover illustration. The total package floored most everyone who was exposed to it and even a raft of Plain Janes and John Does who didn't know fusion from a contusion had a copy of it in their stack of LPs right alongside "Frampton Comes Alive." It was the perfect soundtrack for those heady times yet its pristine artistry will keep it vibrant and wholly viable for centuries to come. This is, indeed, Weather Report's finest hour. Having said that, I confess openly that I haven't heard everything these guys recorded during their esteemed career but I can't imagine that they ever topped this gem. Equaled it, maybe, but never bettered it. (I'm not through with them by a long shot so I'll let you know.)

They open with keyboard wizard and co-founder Josef Zawinul's celebratory "Birdland." If I were to meet somebody who'd never heard a note emanating from the jazz rock/fusion universe this would be one of the first numbers I'd spin for them to contemplate. I mean, what's not to love about it? Its infectious tempo never flags for a split second and every phase of the song exudes unadulterated joy. Alejandro Acuna's steady drumming creates an ever-tightening tension as he coils up the band's energy like a diamondback rattler ready to strike, finally releasing it via the orgasmic explosion of the tune's glorious big band- like theme midway through. The tight arrangement is immaculate and the track's pyrotechnic dynamics are breathtaking even on the hundredth listen. The entire ensemble works together in exquisite harmony and the six minutes it takes to travel from start to finish go flying by like the flash of a strobe. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who won't at least acknowledge the lofty plateau of musical sublimity they achieved with "Birdland." It's a song for the ages.

Almost any tune assigned the task of following that spectacular curtain-raiser would pale in comparison but Josef's "A Remark You Made" proudly stands on its own. It's as soothing as a stroll along a tranquil Kauai beach at sunset and Wayne Shorter's elegant soprano sax is soulful and fluid as it flies overhead like a seagull. Bassist extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius and Zawinul paint a backdrop for him in deep, sky blue colorings before Josef takes off and zooms into the stratosphere with a synthesizer ride to die for. (Grab your lady love, dim the lights and uncork the best wine in the house; this is made for romance. I'm just sayin'.) The finger-blistering, booming "Teen Town" is next and it's a fine showcase for Jaco to display his immense talent. He burns with hot passion from A to Z, yet the song is far from being just another patience-testing bass guitar extravaganza. As in the majority of their other compositions, melody is always held in the highest regard and they never forsake its supreme importance as being the essential ingredient in their art. That endearing characteristic alone is what separates these guys from most of the herd. Shorter's "Harlequin" follows and on this cut Zawinul delicately mixes acoustic piano with his synthesizers brilliantly. (The man was a master of his craft.) The song is complex and multifaceted, to be sure, but it's never so strange that it leaves the casual listener behind. It's totally accessible to even the novice. Towards the end Alejandro dazzles on the drum kit and shows that there's more to him than meets the ear.

Variety is unquestionably the spice of life and they really shake things up with the inclusion of Acuna and percussionist Manola Badrena's wild "Rumba Mama." It's a live track so full of fiery, over-the-top enthusiasm that it's damned near impossible to repress a grin or two during its 2:12 of existence. Don't be timid, just go with the flow and you'll have no regrets. Wayne's "Palladium" is a continuation of that Latin atmosphere, albeit on a much more rational, sane level. While the tune that precedes it might induce a spastic convulsion that would be welcomed and encouraged at an Aboriginal fertility hootenanny, this one will gently beg your lazy feet to get up and samba lightly through the kitchen. Once again the group's inventive, melodic lines rule the realm, dawning a happy brightness onto your psyche that'll elevate even the darkest of moods. Music serves many a purpose but none more life-enhancing than that.

Josef's "The Juggler" possesses a grace and suspense that befits its title to a tee. It shifts from light to shadow in the span of a heartbeat and the tactful interplay going on between the drums and percussion is bliss to behold. It's a delightful piece of music. They end the album with Pastorius' energetic "Havona" and, if this number is any indication, the city that lies beyond the pearly gates is a busy, bustling metropolis. The song is dense and intricate without ever becoming noisy or confusing. Zawinul's piano ride is a scorcher, Shorter slices through the challenging chord progression like a knife through warm butter and Jaco literally raises the heavenly roof with his bass runs. (Have I mentioned that his fretless tone is incomparable?) This cut has more peaks and valleys than a Six Flags roller coaster as it builds to a white-hot intensity and then, before you know it, the thrill ride suddenly pulls into the station smooth as a silk tie and it's over. To quote my favorite Jedi knight, "Exhilarating, that was."

Some may argue that this eclectic bunch sold out with this effort but I beg to differ. I think it was a case of the public finally catching up with them, not Weather Report kowtowing to the lure of commercial success. "Heavy Weather" sold over half a million copies for two good reasons. First, "Birdland" was and still is irresistible. Second, the music contained on this record appealed to people of all ilks because it's just plain GREAT. It's hard to argue against quality presented with this kind of class. This is a jazz rock/fusion album you can play in the presence of your wife or girlfriend and not have her roll her eyes at you in exasperation (even if she thinks saddle tramps like George Straight and Kenny Chesney hung the moon and planets) while, at the same time, avoiding feeling like you had to lower your standards to the sub-basement level. I still get a kick out of this album and it never fails to put a smile on my aging mug. And that, my fellow proggers, is worth a trillion times its weight in gold.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Commercially most successful Weather Report's album, and I can name it "Jaco's Weather Report's" album. If you will compare this music with few first ban's albums, you will hear a big difference. All the atmosphere of experimentation, innovations is gone, and you have here just a comfortable jazz and pop-jazz-fusion, with almost big bandish sound, deep bass and simplistic electronic keyboards.

This orchestral feeling without doubt came with Jaco Pastorius, who was a big orchestral music lover for years ( happily, some other his recordings with orchestras are far more innovative). If Miroslav Vitous was competent bassist, but stayed a bit in a shadow, Jaco bring bass front man concept, but at the same way he finally destroyed all experimental band's spirit.

Yes, it is pleasant music of good quality, but Latin jazz, pop-jazz tunes and be-bop arrangements sound better in seaside resorts summer clubs, than associates with progressive fusion.

2,5 only, but because of my respect to their great previous works, rounded to 3.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Heavy Weather was a surprise hit in a long string of minor hits and misses on Weather Report's part. It also marked the first proper album with the bass player Jaco Pastorius who finally got to show what he was actually capable of by not only showing off his instrumental but also songwriting skills. The album is decided into eight compositions with a wide range of sounds and styles featured throughout it's 38 minutes.

Birdland is a quirky little tune with soft sounding jazz passages that might be considered too simplistic coming from a band like Weather Report but I personally enjoy it immensely. It definitely works well as an album intro that kicks the material off on a cheerful note that makes the listener want to pick up this recording just to hear the album opener. Up ahead is another wonderful Joe Zawinul-penned composition called A Remark You Made that plays out like a more traditional low-key jazz performance. It features one of the most beautiful performance by Wayne Shorter and Zawinul's melodic delivery is just out if this world. Pastorius' short demonstration of skill on Teen Town is quite impressive even though the composition itself suffers a bit from it while Shorter's Harlequin is another great low key performance that just doesn't reach the intensity level of A Remark You Made.

Band democracy rules might have justified the addition of a short live rumba piece by Badrena/Acuņa but other than that it's mostly a throwaway track. The second Wayne Shorter composition, called Palladíum, is much more rhythmically driven but traditional performance while Zawinul's final contribution to the album is another competent work on his part. The closing track is a Pastorius-contribution that works a whole lot better as a band performance and not only as a vehicle for Pastorius to show off his great bass guitar wizardry.

Heavy Weather shows many sides of Weather Reports music which in my opinion becomes a victim of over-ambition on the part of the band members, making the album seem very disjointed in the process. Still, it's hard to really criticize a band on the peak of their career meaning that this is an excellent Jazz-Rock/Fusion recording well worth exploring.

***** star songs: Birdland (5:57) A Remark You Made (6:51)

**** star songs: Teen Town (2:51) Harlequin (3:59) The Juggler (5:03) Havona (6:01)

*** star songs: Palladium (4:46)

** star songs: Rumba Mama (2:12)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Heavy Weather? A tropical beach party breeze you mean.

Heavy Weather was the first Weather Report I ever heard and the impression was so devastating I didn't want to hear anything else from this band, I even stopped exploring fusion for about 20 years. If it wasn't for a couple of half decent bits, I'd give the album the lowest possible rating, that's how strongly I would advise against it.

Hot on the heels of Return To Forever's commercial success with Romantic Warrior, Weather Report tried a similar move towards a more polished and easy-listening type of thing, but they failed miserably. Where RTF kept the music complex and challenging, Weather Report chose to over-simplify and watered down their earlier intricate compositions to easy-listening melodies.

Except for Teen Town, Havona and to a certain extent also Birdland every track presents an assault on the ears and is certainly not worthy of the Weather Report tag. The worst examples of cheesiness are presented by tracks such as A Remark You Made and Harlequin. Syrupy pop-jazz, it makes me cringe, and almost long to hear something from Lady Gaga. Go figure.

One of the best selling jazz-rock albums of all times? Why am I not surprised.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars So this is the biggest selling Jazz Fusion album of all time is it? I'm always a bit wary of facts like that when it comes to music. It's a bit like Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' being the biggest selling album of all time and therefore the best. Wrong. Very wrong.

'Heavy Weather' is an excellently clear recording and has an upbeat and cheery air about it. I'm a real sucker for fretless bass and Jaco Pastorius doesn't let me down on 'Heavy Weather'. I could listen to him all day. Poor Jaco with his bi-polar disorder, depression and alcoholism. Apparently he drank so much that if you put a lighted wick in his mouth it would burn for 3 days.

I must admit I'm not so keen on the borderline cheesy saxophone, however Joe Zawinul's keyboards are excellent providing the glue that holds everything together.

This is a very accessible point of entry into Jazz Fusion if you're new to it. There's nothing too challenging here. It's just a nice, colourful album with some fantastic musicians doing what they do best and making it sound so easy.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though I never listened to this album as much as its companion, Black Market, I do like it.

1. "Birdland" (5:57) iconic (though never a favorite of mine). (9/10) 2. "A Remark You Made" (6:51) beautiful melodies and performances but the song is so dang slow--and it just seems to drag more and more the longer it goes. Almost irritating! Stil, that Zawinal synth solo toward the end is great. (8/10) 3. "Teen Town" (2:51) another Pastorius showpiece (8/10) 4. "Harlequin" (3:59) slow, melodic and memorable, this is one of my three favorite songs on the album (9/10) 5. "Rumba Mama" (2:11) is this where Pat Metheny got the idea to do this so often? (4/5) 6. "Palladium" (4:46) the best song on the album with all band members in sync and hitting on all cylinders. (10/10) 7. "The Juggler" (5:03) another slower song with lots of individual subtleties woven together; the song never seems to get into full gear. (8.5/10) 8. "Havona" (6:01) another top three song. Jaco and Alex's performances are sublime. This is jazz fusion! (10/10)

A solid four star album. I think that 1972's "I Sing The Body Electric" is my favorite, is their most proggy, and is, overall, their best album.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars "Heavy Weather" is the Weather Report album most people know. That's mainly because Birdland became such a big hit, even sparking The Manhattan Transfer to add words and make it a vocal hit as well.

But to me, the success of the album lies mostly in Jaco Pastorius. His wonderful and groundbreaking bass work is what keeps me interested when I listen to the album. Joe Zawinul also manages to keep his easy listening tendencies under control on this album. You will find none of those synthesized jazz harmonica sounds and smooth jazz textures.

The album still doesn't rank with the great fusion bands of the seventies, but I think record sales, not high art is what they were aiming for.

Review by thehallway
5 stars Weather Report took some twists and turns during their career, Joe Zawinul's increasing focus on the poppier side of jazz being one of them. In between the realms of ultra-cheesy pop and groovy fusion is where the best of the band's music lies, with Heavy Weather probably being the defining album of this period. Because of the line-up, and the synchronised peaking of the songwriters' talents, it is fairly agreed upon that this was the band's crowning glory; not just their finest work, but the album that launched them into a new level of stardom and artistic respect.

Hit single 'Birdland' is primarily responsible for this, opening the record with a groovy bang and a plethora of unforgettable melodies. There has not since been such a good example of a jazz instrumental that you can 'sing along' to. The piece also broadcasts Zawinul's genius harmonically and rhythmically. His more laid-back ballad 'A Remark You Made' only confirms the power of the five-man group, albeit in an entirely more stylistically varied way. Wayne Shorter's tasteful sax licks, Joe's keyboard and synth dabbling and Jaco Pastorius' virtuosic fretless bass always share the limelight three ways, which is undoubtedly more interesting than when members of bands take it in turns to really play well (and play mediocre backing for the rest of the time). These guys have a unique and consistent balance between soloing and backing, such that none of them are ever really doing either. It's a teamwork that is rarely seen in jazz.

Pastorius offers 'Teen Town' as a vehicle for spouts of syncopated bass and sax, driven by relentless percussion and drums. The closer to side one, 'Harlequin', is not up there with the band's best work, lacking a great melody or rhythm to focus in on. Still, the song has some quality playing and interchanges. 'Rumba Mama' was recorded live, and showcases drummer Acuņa and percussionist Badrena doing their thing. They prove that what they bring to the table is really what completes Weather Report; without their thick walls of syncopated rhythm, the band wouldn't have half of it's characteristic drive and energy.

'Palladium' is Shorter's finest composition in my opinion, exchanging a variety of grooves and melodies in an explosive atmosphere, it's progressive structure lending itself towards the carnival- esque climax where steel drums hammer out the main melody. The saxophonist has always been known for his handling of harmony, and there is no shortage of that here either; it should have closed the album! Zavinul's 'The Juggler' is very sweet, with acoustic guitar adding something really special, while the finale belongs to 'Havona', Jaco Pastorius' first major composition. It's a driving piece of music with great bass and chords, but maybe that's it.

In some ways, Heavy Weather is just a high-quality songbook, where other Weather Report albums have been more flowing and thematic. That works in it's favour though, because of the aforementioned surge in writing ability from the band's main writers, as well as their consistent virtuosity when playing together, their chemistry, and their diverse handling of moods. There is little on the album I would change, apart from the running order perhaps. Would I even classify it as jazz? I would classify it as a landmark piece of art that drew upon jazz, amongst other, more modern musical styles.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Sometimes you hear a lot about an album but you simply canīt get a hold of it for years. Thatīs exactly what have happend to Weather Reportīs Heavy Weather in my case. A lot of people talked about it and I heard it was a kind of classic jazz-rock/fusion. Recently I finally got it on CD and Imust say I was not impressed. Condiering the talents of the people involved, it sounded bland, tamed, popish and, frankly, a bit boring.

Of course there are good moments like the second track A Remark You Made (a song Kenny G must have heard a million times when he was young) an their biggest success, Birdland. The inclusion of a live track Rumba Mama, which is a simply drum solo with some goofy spanish words thrown in, is a mystery. The rest is nice: Jaco Pastorius bass playing is realy awesome. I also enjoy Wayne Shorter sax a lot. But in the end I found everything here too slick and predicable.

Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe it was innovative for the time and it got copied a lot. Maybe it is not as representative of their best work as I was told. I donīt know. What I do know is that there was much better and more exciting records in that genre during that year. Guess Iīll have to look for other WR stuff to see if I change my mind over their sound. But Heavy weather, despite its title, has nothing really heavy on it. On the contrary, is very light. Too light.

Rating: 2 stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars When Weather Report released their most successful album "Heavy Weather" in 1977, the jazz fusion era was already starting to wind down in popularity. They were considered one of the 4 most influential jazz/rock fusion bands of the time along with Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and The Headhunters, but each of those bands had already had their popularity peaks in previous years and were on their ways down from those pinnacles. Weather Report, on the other hand, was still on the way up, and "Heavy Weather" would end up being their most popular album, mostly pushed to that peak by the track "Birdland", and justifiably so. With a memorable, yet still complex sound, it grabbed the attention of both jazz and rock lovers alike.

The band was riding high after the previous album "Black Market" which was also successful, yet it still didn't beat "Heavy Weather" in terms of sales. That previous album introduced one of jazz's best bass players, Jaco Pastorius, but this new album would feature Pastorius as a regular member. His influence could be strongly felt in the style of the band, opening them up to less stringent songs. The music not only sounded less forced, but his amazing style reminded listeners of an instrument that could speak and that fit so naturally with the direction the band wanted to go in, a freer, more upbeat sound where all of the players were important. Jaco was not one to sit in the background and play a repetitive pattern, but could prove that bass could be upfront just like any of the other instruments. You can hear his playfulness throughout the entire album, and that drive pushed the rhythm section above and beyond many of the other fusion bands of the time.

The first half of the album starts off with the favorite "Birdland" that most everyone is familiar with and the infectious groove and style of that track definitely got everyone's attention. It is interesting that the remainder of the first half slows things down to songs that are more romantic sounding, mellow, yet still intriguing songs, yet Jaco's playing still stands out, yet it never overplays Zawinul's keys and guitars or Shorter's brass. However, when the record gets to "Harlequin", the interplay between the keys and the bass is simply outstanding. The 2nd half of the album is devoted to more upbeat tracks with the album's weakest moment "Rumba Mama" opening it up with crazy percussion. It's simply the weakest moment because the track is way too short. It is recorded live, which is fine, and it works it's way up to where it sounds like it is going to just take off, and then it's over. However, the remaining 3 tracks more than make up for this with happier and groovier sounds and leaving the best track "Havona" top close it all out. The feeling I get when I get to this point is, I want to hear more.

The reissue that was released with the box set in 2014 does exactly that. Three live tracks that really bring the excitement of their live shows right to your living room (or wherever your sound system is located). There is a 9 minute live version of the previous album's "Black Market" that sounds better than ever. The biggest pleasant surprise is the live version of "Teen Town", which comes from this album in a less than 3 minute version, now stretched out to over 6 minutes. This is what the band could do in concert, even with what might be considered their less important songs. Now it takes on a new life where it becomes just as important and great as any of the band's best. The last track is a faster paced version of "Birdland", also live.

This album shows this band at some of it's best, and if you were to only own one of their albums, this would be the one to get. But make sure you pay attention to the way this band functions so well together. And just listen to that amazing bass. If there wasn't anything else great about this album, just the bass alone would merit that album's inclusion in your collection, but fortunately, everything about this album is perfect. This is one I would consider essential to any fusion lover's collection, and even any prog collection.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Review #24: Heavy Weather Heavy Weather was also Weather Report's best selling record. It reached number 30 on the Billboard pop chart, quickly sold nearly half a million copies, and has subsequently gone gold (signifying sales of 500,000 copies). In his January 2001 Down Beat retrospective o ... (read more)

Report this review (#2674483) | Posted by Saimon | Thursday, January 20, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Remember when "heavy" was common slang used for "fantastic" or "hip"? This album is it... As a self-proclaimed prog head coming out of the 70's and appreciating more of the jazz sound in music, fusion groups like Weather Report were a natural fit for me when I discovered this album during the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2439359) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Wednesday, August 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Heavy Weather is an unusually weak and lazy album by an otherwise wonderful band, Weather Report. This weakness is especially disappointing after the sequence of great albums they had made before Heavy Weather (the immediate predecessor, Black Market, being probably the coolest). It all begins wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#911179) | Posted by Argonaught | Thursday, February 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Heavy Weather is the bands highest selling record, and it isn't difficult to see why. Musically, this isn't nearly as adventurous as the 'Romantic Warriors' or 'Inner Mounting Flames' the of the genre. What we have here some easy listening jazz fusion (though it is a bit closer to jazz than rock). I ... (read more)

Report this review (#786680) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It is difficult for me, being an outsider to the world of jazz, to imagine why fusion bands like Weather Report are looked upon with derision for their apparent lack of devotion to ture jazz. Maybe it's just this particular album, but I think that this effort is jazz first rock second. I certainly ... (read more)

Report this review (#252413) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This probably the most popular Weather Report album. This album features some great musicians like the greatest bass player ever Jaco Pastorius, Weather Report founder keyboardist Joe Zawinul , and playing on sax Wayne Shorter. Some great standout tracks are the opener Birdland, a very popular jaz ... (read more)

Report this review (#150806) | Posted by JROCHA | Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Teen Town This album is ecstatic. Here, jazz is mixed with a kind of 'symphonism': the orchestration and the counterpoint aren't own of jazz. Also, the sonorities are an innovation: the fretless bass and the synths are quite strange for jazz in those days. The harmony arrangement was succesful, ... (read more)

Report this review (#130128) | Posted by Marcos | Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With Heavy Weather, Weather Report hit the jackpot in 1977. It is arguable that they were edgier on some other albums, and some compositions on other albums are more complete than most on this, but as a whole Heavy Weather works really, really well. I'm not going to go into details and give ratin ... (read more)

Report this review (#82179) | Posted by OT Räihälä | Wednesday, June 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As a bass player, I have to love this album. It introduced me to Jaco's bass playing. The heart-tugging bass refrain of "A Remark You Made" is probably a finer moment than the test-piece of "Teen Town". For the general jazz-prog listener, its a fun, rewarding album, but its safe for the ge ... (read more)

Report this review (#42326) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the best of Weather Report's "Jaco era". I'll go ahead and tell you already that this album is essential for bass players everywhere, but now with the album itself. I have a lot of Jaco's grooves on this album Memorized. :-D Heavy Weather isn't my favorite of Weather Report's discography ... (read more)

Report this review (#42202) | Posted by seabre | Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Jaco Pastorius asserts more creative control here, becoming an equal partner with Zawinul and Shorter. To some listeners, this is bound to be an exciting development - after all, Pastorius is a premier innovator on electric bass - but it doesn't revive the glory of the band's best records. The s ... (read more)

Report this review (#39549) | Posted by | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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