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Weather Report

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Weather Report Black Market album cover
4.02 | 307 ratings | 24 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Black Market (6:30)
2. Cannon Ball (4:40)
3. Gibraltar (7:49)
4. Elegant People (5:03)
5. Three Clowns (3:27)
6. Barbary Coast (3:10)
7. Herandnu (6:38)

Total Time: 37:17

Bonus Tracks on 2014 boxed set "The Columbia Albums" reissue:
8. Portrait Of Tracy [Live] (5:57) *
9. Elegant People [Live] (4:28) *
10. Black Market [Live] (9:28) $

* November 30, 1977 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
$ March 2, 1979 at the Karl Marx Theatre, Havana - previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Joe Zawinul / Yamaha grand piano, Rhodes electric piano, ARP 2600 & Oberheim Polyphonic synths, orchestrations, co-producer
- Wayne Shorter / soprano & tenor saxophones, Computone Lyricon, co-producer
- Alphonso Johnson / basses (1,3-5,7)
- Jaco Pastorius / fretless bass (2,6,8-10)
- Narada Michael Walden / drums (1,2)
- Chester Thompson / drums (3-7)
- Don Elias / congas & percussion (1,6)
- Alejandro "Alex" Acuņa / congas, percussion (2-5,7)

- Manolo Badrena / percussion (9)
- Wayne Shorter / saxes (9,10)
- Peter Erskine / drums (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Dave McMacken with Maxine (concept) and Nancy Donald (design)

LP Columbia - PC 34099 (1976, US)
LP CBS - 81325 (1976, UK)

CD CBS/Sony ‎- 35DP 130 (1984, Japan)
CD CBS ‎- CDCBS 32226 (1989, Europe)
CD Columbia ‎- 507658 2 (2002, Europe) Remastered to 24-bit by Mark Wilder and Seth Foster
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 Quinino for the last updates
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Buy WEATHER REPORT Black Market Music

WEATHER REPORT Black Market ratings distribution

(307 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WEATHER REPORT Black Market reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
4 stars One of the band's best fusion records and a harbinger of the fine things to come on Heavy Weather. All this despite the fact that the rhythm section was again in a state of flux, with Jaco Pastorius replacing Alphonso Johnson on bass and Chester Thompson, Don Alias and Narada Michael Walden passing through their ranks. The opening "Black Market" is a treat, breaking open into a joyous melody that invites comparison to Frank Zappa and Soft Machine. "Cannon Ball" is smooth and soulful, with little musical epiphanies that play out in an unfolding and evolving discovery process, while "Gibraltar" begins with a sea voyage and arrives at a world of comfort and conflict, a yin and yang embodied in long mournful notes and angular interjections which blur the line between Wayner Shorter's horns and Zawinul's synthesizers. The opening ship's horn is worth returning to, since it's a technique that reoccurs often here, from the opening market sounds on the title track to the sound of a train rumbling along on "Barbary Coast." Weather Report takes you places with these songs, and they seem to understand that each track is a self-contained destination, a short trip to somewhere. It's something you just don't hear in jazz that often, this incorporation of environmental sounds to transform music into an exotic landscape. Wayne Shorter receives the compositional reins from Zawinul on side two, and his long, loping stride can be felt on both "Elegant People" and the sentimental "Three Clowns." The saxophonist leans away from the fusion side toward more traditional jazz, finding room for some spicy percussion on the former. Next is the Pastorius-penned "Barbary Coast," which marked the beginning of the bassist's trademark sound, a rubbery funky line complemented by Zawinul's mechanical clanks that oozes groove. Alphonso Johnson's "Herandnu" closes things on an interesting note, an intoxicating and airborne melody that liberates the listener like a leaf in the wind before getting down to business. More than merely an appetizer for Heavy Weather, Black Market is a self-standing feast in its own right and should be sought out by anyone who hungers for intelligent, exotic fusion.
Review by fuxi
5 stars This is 1970s jazz at its best: the music is so bright, poetic and varied it just cannot fail to uplift the listener. Back in 1976, Weather Report boasted a superb rhythm section which propelled their music naturally and with the greatest ease. The band's main composer (Joe Zawinul) had achieved a mastery over Fender Rhodes piano and synths which allowed him to play the airiest solos. On ballad-like pieces such as "Cannon Ball" Wayne Shorter would play supremely tender sax as well. BLACK MARKET's title tune, available on MP3 streaming above, will give you an excellent idea of what the album is like - as long as you bear in mind that some of the other pieces (most notably "Gibraltar" and "Herandnu") sound even more joyful and ecstatic.

To my feeling, BLACK MARKET is Weather Report's most remarkable studio album; it's far better than the over-praised HEAVY WEATHER, which is notable only for spawning the hit single "Birdland". Until recently, I would have hesitated to call this "a masterpiece of progressive music", but I now realise it is even better qualified for such a title than LED ZEPPELIN IV or THE WHO LIVE AT LEEDS, which have reaped a lot of praise on Prog Archives. So, five stars it shall be!

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

Generally hailed by pure progheads as WR's best album, Black Market is indeed often cited by other fans, partly/mainly because of drummer Chester Thompson and bassist Jaco Pastorius' arrival in the fold. WR's sixth album indeed sports a spotless all star line-up, but to this writer, the group fails to really gel: indeed, there is no stable line-up as there are two bassists and four percussionists/drummers and this fails to give a solid musical direction.

With an ethnic artwork, the album is at least that: ethnic-fusion, and not least so with the album-opening title track, the red-hot jazz- funk jam shows that indeed good musicianship can cover up for weak songwriting, but if you scratch the surface, there isn't much there. Next up, Cannonball is (you guessed it) a Zawinul-homage to his former bandleader Adderley, this is boring would-be straight/standard jazz with then-modern instrumentation. The first real highlight occurs with the A-side closing Gibraltar, yet another improv on an Indian-sounding raga-beat laced with a funk bass line. This red-hot groove with inspired improvisations and great soloing is

While the first side was Zawinul-penned, the flipside is mostly Shorter and the two bassists writing one each. The opening track Elegant People, with a neat piano-dominated slowly evolving intro, is turning into a mega-funky track and easily the best track on this side. Three Clowns also opens calmly, and stays soporifically slow, even if well executed, again, there isn't much in terms of writing music. The Pastorius-penned Barbary Coast is a bass showboat and just an excuse for a bass solo, hidden by a few doodlings around it. Ultra-funky, technically difficult and (outside the virtuoso coup) again not much to chew upon in terms of writing. The (other bassist) Johnson track Herandnu fares much-better, and after an exciting start, also settles in a groove (can hear Chester's paws on drums here and small hints of the Cinema Show improvs he will use later)

A very over-rated album, Black Market is (a bit) ruined by the lack of songwriting proper, as this is mostly a Groove & Jam album. While I can understand why some people highly regard this album so highly, I think it is so for the wrong reasons; the main one is the over-the-top virtuosi playing of some members, but although still restrained here, it would only get worse with the next albums. In the meantime, BM is a worthy album that deserves to be heard, but not be lauded to stratospheric heights it usually is.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I guess you could call this a transitional album as they would start to make more accessible music from here on out. There would be a lot more of that found on the next one "Heavy Weather". Jaco was introduced on this album although he's only on two tracks, one of which he composed. Alphonso Johnson is still the bass player at this point although he would leave after this one to join Billy Cobham and his new musical adventure with George Duke. Chester Thompson of Zappa fame drums on the last five tracks, although he helps out on the title track too. I have to say that there are points on this album that i'm almost dizzy listening to the collage of sounds, it's pure bliss. The fact that there is some world class percussion on every song help too.This though is mostly about Shorter and Zawinul who composed 5 of the 7 tracks.

"Black Market" opens with the sounds of a market as it builds to a pleasant melody. So much going on after 1 1/2 minutes. Amazing ! Love the percussion.The sax and bass are more prominant after 2 1/2 minutes. As the song draws to a close it settles down more and more. "Cannon Ball" is dedicated to Zawinul's friend and alto sax player Julian "Cannonball" Adderley who had just passed away months before this recording. This is where we hear Jaco for the first time on this album. This is very relaxing and enjoyable although the keys are jarring at times early on. Sax after 2 1/2 minutes as the sound gets fuller. Nice drumming after 3 minutes and then it settles to a calm after 4 minutes. "Gibralter" opens with the sounds of water and a ship. Sax takes over beautifully. An explosion of sound before 1 1/2 minutes. The drumming sounds incredible, so crisp as the bass throbs. The sax is back before 4 minutes. Zawinul is really fantastic on this song as well as he comes and goes. Check it out 6 minutes in, so much going on ! Shorter is letting it rip after 7 minutes. What a song !

"Elegant People" features percussion that is simply a pleasure to listen to. The sax and keys after 1 1/2 minutes amaze. "Three Clowns" with the synths and atmosphere brings to mind the previous album "Mysterious Traveller". Then a slow sax melody comes in with piano before 2 minutes. "Barbary Coast" is Jaco's composition. It opens with the sound of a train going by. Then it's Jaco's prominant bass lines that steal the show. This one is funky and you gotta love it. Sax and keys are also featured. "Herandnu" is my favourite track on here and is a Johnson composition. He sure left the band on a high ! This sounds so good ! Drums, sax, keys and bass create a fantastic sound early. A change before 1 1/2 minutes with what sounds like fuzz bass then the tempo picks up. These guys blow me away on this song.

A must have in my opinion for you Jazz fans out there. It's not just the playing it's those arrangements as well that are so impressive.

Review by b_olariu
5 stars Weather Report sixth studio labum from 1976 named Black market. This is no doubt one of my fav album ever , not only from jazz - fusion zone, but from all music. It has that something that I always love on this album, he can grab my attention every time I listening to and never get bored, but aswell maybe is not as stunning as other masterpieces from jazz but for sure is an intristing , well performed album all the way. From the art cover 'till the last tune this is an essential album for everybody intrested in jazz and in complex elements that defines jazz-fusion. On this album featuring some great musicians, like Chester Thompson on drums , Alex Acuna (one of the best percutionists ever from jazz) and Jaco Pastorius on bass, but only on two tracks Cannon Ball and Barbary Coast and some others awesome ones aswell. So the music is jazz with funk arrangements that because of Pastorius bass lines, and in places some very intristing brass elements fullfiled the album in a great manner of interpretation. Black market can be considered, at least from my side, as one of the best albums ever, manly because the music is varied, smooth and elegant. The best pieces all, but with a plus on Black market, Gibraltar or Three clowns. Un overlooked album by jazz lovers considered unintristing and many times with a lack of musical direction. So an essential album, that stands in time very well, so I will vote as 5 stars album without hesitation.
Review by Neu!mann
4 stars "Black Market" was one of only a handful of albums able to fulfill the Fusion promise, which elsewhere always seemed to sway too far one way or another (is it rock? is it jazz?) without ever locating that elusive tertium quid. Here the synthesis is complete and organic, effortlessly borrowing the best from both worlds, and others besides: chiefly an awareness of Third World musical aesthetics.

Listen to the extended fade-in of that playful signature riff in the title track, a personal favorite of composer/keyboard wizard Joe Zawinul. Besides being irresistibly catchy it gives the other players plenty of space in which to solo, and could just as easily have been continued forever, as the gradual unresolved ending suggests.

With track titles like "Gibraltar" and "Barbary Coast" the music is placed geographically somewhere along the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and the same warmth pervades every performance on the album. Zawinul and ace horn player Wayne Shorter (alumni of the groundbreaking Fusion experiments by MILES DAVIS half a decade earlier) are of course the twin axis around which the band orbits, and their combined talents help fuse together a line-up in flux at the very moment the album was being recorded.

Drummer Chester Thompson came and went (his skills would be wasted in post-Prog GENESIS soon afterward); ditto Narada Michael Walden, who would later surface on ROBERT FRIPP's debut solo album "Exposure". The bass guitar chair was likewise insecure, until the arrival, mid-session, of John Francis Pastorius III, better known as Jaco: one of the premier ambassadors the instrument has ever known. He's only featured on two cuts, but it's easy to spot them without even checking the credits: few other bassists play with such distinctive hyper-manic dexterity.

It's an all-too brief album (only 37+ minutes), but each of the seven tracks is a model of improvisatory grace. And unlike its popular follow-up (the 1977 bestseller "Heavy Weather") no single composition is allowed to dominate.

The best Jazz-Rock Fusion has to navigate a delicate balance between opposing musical forces in order to work. This is one of those rare examples that makes it look easy.

Review by Kazuhiro
5 stars WR guesses that distinguished services of the activity in the 70's are the flows that surely draw the deriving flow from Miles Davis. Their music exactly contained various elements and fixed the frame of Jazz/Fusion. The work that had been announced the performance that they had done was a result of the enough consent even if the technology and knowledge were considered.

Time when Alphonso Johnson was on the register might have been groping for the directionality of a certain kind of experiment and music for WR. It was true that there were determination and a creation to take the element of Groove from the world of a space sound of the band. The act that has been done to make them an embodiment can be confirmed by "Mysteriou Traveller" and "Tale Spinnin'". I certainly felt the directionality to some degree though it concluded successfully there was a loose a few impressions, too.

It will inform the world of the brain of rise Zawinul-Shorter with WR whenever the value of the band announces the work of course. In the group of this legend, the counterplan might be established by Jazz/Fusion as a result at that time and degree of freedom of the member who is related to the group and abundant ideas be factors of their charms.

Zawinul came to have leadership in the group gradually. It worked on this work at ..Wayne Shoretr.. position of Co-Producer and. However, Shorter was already indispensable existence for the group for Zawinul. It becomes a legend further by Jaco Pastorius that participates from this work. WR has succeeded because Pastorius with the element of Groove enough participates in the increase of degree of freedom and the obedient reflection of the color of Zawinul in the work. Pastorius participates only in two in this album. However, he digests the element of current WR enough and is appealing because of the performance.

The tune and the composition in which the color of various music is sprinkled without [**] cracking to the item of Jazz/Fusion advance with a splendid flow. WR reached the peak surely by this album in the item of Jazz/Fusion.

The existence of WR shifted to the flow of Zawinul-Shorter-Pastorius and expanded directionality and the width of WR from this work. It appears remarkably obviously in the performance of Pastorius and the composed tune. If the entire flow of the album is considered, the whole might be able to be caught easily. However, the performance of Pastorius obviously demonstrates the difference with other tunes. Pastorius might already have left the legend.

The route is established by "Heavy Weather" further and informs the world of the existence of Pastorius. The fan of Shorter had the opinion made for the ad-lib of his Sax to have decreased on the boundary of this "Black Market". However, it is true that directionality and the role of the group are established and each member's idea and performance were demonstrated. Atmosphere by the member can be understood from listening to the work. And, WR surely reached the top and became a masterpiece that exceeded the frame of Jazz/Fusion at the same time by this album.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Black Market" is the 6th full-length studio album by US Jazz rock/Fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through CBS/Columbia Records in March 1976. As usual there are a couple of changes to the lineup since the last album. Bassist Alphonso Johnson is still present on the album but future bassist Jaco Pastorius is introduced on the tracks "Cannon Ball" and on his own relatively short composition "Barbary Coast". Narada Michael Walden plays the drums on "Black Market" and "Cannon Ball" while future Genesis drummer Chester Thompson, fresh out of a stint with Frank Zappa & The Mothers plays the drums on the rest of the tracks. New percussionist is Alejandro Neciosup Acuņa (Don Elias plays percussion on "Black Market" and "Barbary Coast"). The ususal suspects are Wayne Shorter on saxophone and Joe Zawinul on acoustic & electric pianos and keyboards/synths.

Iīm not sure what happened between "Tale Spinnin' (1975)" and "Black Market" but the latter is so much more vibrant, inspired, and powerful than itīs predecessor. The lineup changes are of course a big part of the explanation but itīs not only the playing that makes "Black Market" such an incredible album. The 7 tracks on the 37:17 minutes long album are simply outstanding. The more structured jazz rock/fusion style with memorable themes that was introduced on "Mysterious Traveller (1974)" and continued on "Tale Spinnin' (1975)" is perfected here.

Expect an explosion of powerful soloing, great rythmic playing and tightly structured jazz rock/fusion tracks. Thereīs still an air of adventure in the music (like on the early albums by the band) that I greatly enjoy though so the tight structures never kill the passion which is something I felt happened to some degree on "Tale Spinnin' (1975)". One of the things Iīm going to mention in addition to the always strong playing by Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul are the playing of the new drummers and percussionists. Some of the best rythmic playing Iīve heard on a jazz rock/fusion album. To top it all off the sound production is warm, detailed, organic and powerful. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Black Market is a surprisingly effective record considering that it showcases Weather Report in their transitional stage with the whole rhythmic section in a state of motion. The effectiveness of the recording comes from its consistency that I so far missed on the two other Weather Report albums that I've had the pleasure of hearing so far.

The album consists of a steady stream of great Jazz Rock/Fusion work that doesn't gets interrupted by any inconsistencies which I've experienced on both I Sing The Body Electric and the follow-up release Heavy Weather. Besides, judging from the ratings that all of the other Weather Report albums have gathered, Black Market seems to be the only album of its kind. Side one consists entirely out of Joe Zawinul's compositions and its also where the record shines the most. Maybe I'm a bit biased about my opinion since I've always preferred the delicate synthesizers and piano based Joe Zawinul-compositions over the much rougher Wayne Shorter work. Still even Shorter manages to outdo himself with Elegant People that easily takes my no.2 spot right after Cannon Ball.

Towards the end of the album we also get one track from each of the bass players that really show how far apart Jaco Pastorius and Alphonso Johnson were with their approach to music writing and its delivery. Barbary Coast is a funky and playful composition that gives us a preview of the bass work that Jaco Pastorius will be so famous for. Alphonso Johnson's Herandnu sounds to me like a more ambitious composition and it would have been interesting to hear more of his work works in this band's setting.

This is easily my pick for a record that should be heard by the newcomers to both Weather Report but also Jazz Rock/Fusion in general since it features everything that is so great about the genre. Simply put, an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Cannon Ball (4:41)

**** star songs: Black Market (6:30) Gibraltar (7:49) Elegant People (5:04) Three Clowns (3:27) Barbary Coast (3:11) Herandnu (6:39)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Enter 1976 and the once mighty and innovating force that was Weather Report returns with one last strong album. Not with the daring might of old but with a smoother and more accessible type of fusion that is executed very thoughtfully and tastefully, creating a thick atmosphere that is simultaneously melancholic, groovy, melodious, ethnic and cheerful.

Their previous attempt at more commercial fusion (Tale Spinning) largely failed artistically, but this time they were more successful and created an inspired album that is both moody and virtuoso, sometimes groovy and sometimes melodic. The album flows nicely all the way and even if it lacks truly standout tracks it is very consistent and pleasing.

The spirit of innovation and creative excitement that existed on the first three WR albums has greatly disappeared but overall this is a fine example of progressive ethnic jazz-funk-rock that can serve as a safe fusion entry point for symphonic-oriented audiences. 3.5 stars for me.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though the band had long been established--inspired by Miles Davis' Bitches Brew sessions in the summer of 1969--ths is one of the band's most popular albums. While the sounds or stylings of Joe Zawinal and Wayne Shorter never really wowed me, the ensemble sound, unusual (and engaging) melodies, and great performances from the extraordinary Weather Report rhythm section always drew me in. Here we are graced with various combinations of contributions from bassists Alphonso Johnson and Jaco Pastorius, drummers Narada Michael Walden and Chester Thompson, and percussionists Don Elias and Alejandro "Alex" Acuņa. What a treat!

Five star songs: 7. "Herandnu" (6:38) Alfonso Johnson penned this final song of the album--and a beauty it is! For me this is the band at their most dynamic and joyful. (9/10); 2. "Cannon Ball" (4:40) the band's first contribution from Jaco Pastorius (9/10); 3. "Gibraltar" (7:49) (9/10), and; the percussionist's treat 4. "Elegant People" (5:03) (9/10).

Four star songs: 1. "Black Market" (6:30) (8.5/10); 5. "Three Clowns" (3:27) (8/10); 6. "Barbary Coast" (3:10) Jaco's first compositional contribution to the band. This is Jaco doing Jaco while the band supports. (8/10).

While the performances are masterful throughout this album, I don't feel that the compositions are as strong or as memorable as those from other WR albums. Four stars.

Review by thehallway
4 stars A delicious slice of ethnic 70s fusion from Zawinul and Shorter, with their ever-changing rhythm section perhaps reaching a peak on this album, introducing bass extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius into the fold and briefly featuring Zappa/Genesis drummer Chester Thompson. The music is mostly quite soft, blending jazz with more of a world style than a rock style. Although most of the tunes are soothing, friendly and accessible, the band do go a bit crazy on occasion, delivering some of their finest moments of group improvisation. In particular, the drumming and percussion on Black Market are extremely virtuosic, bursting with polyrhythms and syncopations, often within quite obscure time signatures.

Zawinul composed the whole first side of the album, which has three pieces characterised by his soft synth melodies and vibrant rhythms. The tribute piece 'Cannonball' is almost a pop ballad without lyrics (I mean that in a good way), while the light, happy title track and more intense 'Gibraltar' contain some fine riffs and solos. The synth patches favoured by everyone during the late 70s do sound a little dated now, and I would have preferred Zawinul to play something a bit more timeless like a Moog, but this is a minor complaint. When these synth tones (which echo what the 80s would sound like) were new, they probably seemed a lot more exciting, but they haven't aged as well as the simple, basic analogue patches used earlier in the decade and in more recent digital music.

Wayne Shorter's sax is not so abundant on this album, but he contributes two compositions, the fairly complex 'Elegant People' and the strange, eerie 'Three Clowns'. The former is another decent fusion track with some interesting timbres going on (Joe even uses a piano! I know! A Piano! How many jazzers used those in 1976????). But the latter song comes from nowhere and goes nowhere really, lacking a beat, any proper melodies or even creating a nice mood. Then, new recruit Pastorius gives us a fine groove in 'Barbary Coast', taking the listener to yet another exotic location by aural means. The closing 'Herandnu' is my favourite, written by the other bass player who would soon leave, Alphonso Johnson. In 11/8 throughout, the piece contains a fantastically sinister groove, where maniacal drumming, squealing sax and dynamic keyboard-playing float around a solid bass line, all bookended by an epic synth motif.

Black Market is clearly a favourite Weather Report album amongst fans, along with it's more successful follow-up, and I am fond of it too. The main draw are the jam-like sections, and when they're good, the melodies. A couple of throwaways and the less-than-pleasant keyboard sounds prevent it from being any kind of masterpiece, but it is a solid and ridiculously well-performed album, which serves as an excellent introduction to the second fertile period of jazz fusion.

Review by Warthur
2 stars A consistently catchy album of comparatively accessible fusion from Weather Report, Black Market gets a lot of props for being Jaco Pastorius' first album with the group, though in actuality he only appears on two tracks. Granted, one of them is his own Barbary Coast, but I the fact that this empty technical showboating made it onto the album as being a fairly clear symptom of the weakness of the songwriting this time around. Personally, I don't consider Black Market to be the unalloyed classic it's often made out to be - not only are the band playing a style of fusion which by this point in the 1970s had become fairly safe and mainstream, they don't even do anything particularly novel or interesting with it.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars A lot of my friends who were into fusion in the seventies, the same friends who introduced me to Return To Forever, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Brand X, were also into Weather Report. And while I appreciate the talent of this band, and really love some of their individual work in other bands, I never really found the band's albums very exciting. And this, with some good but not great fusion, is no exception.

I think the main problem I have with Weather Report stems from Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. With Shorter, he seems to concentrate on the soprano sax in this group. Soprano Sax to me usually brings to mind easy listening jazz. And Shorter's playing with Weather Report never seems to catch fire. And on Three Clowns, where I presume he's playing the lyricon, his noodling is just awful.

With Zawinul, it's the synth patches he chooses. Occasionally he finds a cool sound, but usually his patches just bore me.

All that said, there are some songs I like on this album. Most notably, Herandu comes very close to being what I like to hear in fusion. And Jaco plays on two songs. I can't complain about that.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As this album review appeared at the first page of this site my memory jumped back to the seventies era when my blood was predominated with progressive rock music especially symphonic prog with the like of Genesis, Yes, ELP, King Crimson. You guess! I was not interested at all with the release of Weather Report "Black Market" when it was released in the form of music cassette. By that time my only collection was in the format of cassettes nothing else because it's affordable to me and quite practical - I could bring it anywhere I wanted unlike vinyl let alone its unaffordable price. I purchased the cassette of Black Market BUT I did not have time to spin it - or put it honestly ..... I had no intention at all to get across other music than prog rock because at that time it was THE only music that I loved most.

It was my prog colleague, Ian Arliandy who stayed in Bandung, forced me to have a listen of this album when I took engineering degree in Bandung on 1979. I met Ian only on 1980, I think, and that meant it was already four years the album had been released officially. Oh man .... I was surprised the first time I listened to this album. It's not the kind of jazz that I thought the album would sound - it's totally out of my prediction! I was blown away by the opening track which happened to be the album title Black Market .... Oh my God! I loved it very much! The first time I listened to it I put my attention on the dynamic basslines that eally sounded great to my ears. But later I also found the brass section especially by Wayne Shorter (a name that I was familiar already at that time - I do not remember how I knew this name at first place). Finally I loved the total track; the music is so wonderful.

I then started exploring some other tracks and found 'Cannon Ball' (4:40) not so interesting the first time I played but it then grew on me as part of overall music offering - it provides great musical break after the dynamic of the first track. 'Gibraltar' (7:49) is also a nice track as it's dynamic and has many tempo changes. It starts silent but after the first minute the music is very dynamic and it has many textures combining all instruments including very good drumming / percussion work augmented with sax and keyboard work. Of course bass guitar still play important role.

The whole album is excellent one and I love the last two tracks at the end of the album: 'Barbary Coast' (3:10) and 'Herandnu' (6:38). Since then I kepte an eye on the development of Weather Report as well as Jaco Pastorius / Joe Zawinul. An album that you should not miss...... Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Guillermo
4 stars In 1978-79 I listened for the first time to this band with an album called "Mr-Gone" which I didn`t like. Since then I realized that this band, as others in any musical style, wasn`t really a band. It was really a "team" of two main composers and leaders (Zawinul and Shorter) with other musicians who were more like their "employees". So, the line-ups never were permanent due to these situations. Unfortunately, egos reign in the music business, and with the passing of time they cause a lot of problems in the interactions, friendships and work among the musicians.

I really wanted to listen to this album because I read that drummer Chester Thompson participated in it. I consider him as one of the best drummers I have listened to, so I listened to this album. First, as I do many times before listening to an album or to a band, I read about their history and the circunstances on which this album was recorded. I also found in the web an interview done with Thompson some years ago on which he explains how he was involved with this band. He said that he played with this band after being for several years with Frank Zappa`s band, but Zappa split his band for a time, so Thompson was unemployed, but fortunately he was a very good friend of bassist Alphonso Johnson (who also participated in this album). Both played in this band for more or less a year before Johnson left the band durig the recording of this album in late 1975. Having secured a recording contract for his own projects, he simply didn`t appear in the studio (without telling anybody about this) when the band returned to the recording sessions in early 1976. Zawinul and Shorter assumed that Thompson, being a very good friend of Johnson`s also wasnīt going to return to the band, but Thompson returned, and then he found two new "members" in the band: drummer Michael Walden (also a very good drummer) and bassist Jaco Pastorious (a very good bassist like Johnson, but with a more complicated style in comparison). So, Thompson was then informed that he wasn`t required as drummer anymore and he wasn`t treated well in this situation and this caused some problems. Anyway, after recording two musical pieces (the first two which appear in the album) with Walden and Pastorious, the leaders finally realized that Walden`s style wasnīt as compatible to the band as Thompson`s , so Thompson returned to the recording sessions to record a final track, but his style wasn`t compatible with Pastorius`, and this with also the strain in the personal relationship with the leaders led Thompson to leave the band after the album was completed.

Well. After writing about the "usual politics" in bands, I can say that this album is very good. The compositions are very good and the tracks on which Thompson and Johnson recorded together are the best in this album, particularly the last track in this album called "Heradnu", composed by Johnson. At least it seems that the main composers and leaders gave some "musical freedom" to Thompson and Johnson, who as a team worked very well. Pastorius and Walden also are very good musicians, of course. So, after listening to this album my musical opinion about this band changed because the style of the album is more in the Jazz-Rock Fusion style in comparison to "Mr. Gone" which was more in the Funky and Disco styles. So, this album really deserves the respect it has as a very good Jazz-Rock Fusion album (despite the "usual politics" which are really a shame but they happen very often in the music business).

A final "correction": Thompson said in that interview that the first track in this album is really an edit of two versions of the same musical piece, but one recorded with Walden and Pastorius, and the other recorded with him and Johnson.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This may be overall my favorite WR album. That doesn't mean I believe it's truly a classic like their debut, but it's fun, enjoyable, sophisticated and accessible all at once. Top-notch writing and great performances, with Joe Zawinul adding in more - but not excessive - synthesizers (I'm looking ... (read more)

Report this review (#1435792) | Posted by Mr. Gone | Sunday, July 5, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is probably the best Weather Report album. After changing style from avant-guarde jazz oriented fusion to more slick and melodical, actually more rocking kind of fusion on Tale Spinnin, two years ago, Black Market is where the full benefits of this turnove can be enjoyed, and probably by much g ... (read more)

Report this review (#512743) | Posted by justaguy | Thursday, September 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Black Market's well known successor Heavy Weather tends to get all the love in more mainstream musical circles. My first introduction to the band was definitely through it. Largely on account of it being billed has a high watermark in the history of jazz fusion. I am inclined to believe that this ... (read more)

Report this review (#288598) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ahhh, the sweet and soothing sound of perfected Jazz / Rock fusion comes drifting on over from the Black Market... This caliber of Fusion rock is scarcely reached, even by top musicians. The way that each song flows peacefully, without being boring, and still being very fun and uplifting is ast ... (read more)

Report this review (#175848) | Posted by OzzProg | Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An album that definitely should get more recognition on this site. I found myself surprised when I realised that Weather Report had so few reviews on a site like this. By now, I can't find any explanation for this, but all I can say is that this band, and specially this album should get much more ... (read more)

Report this review (#126701) | Posted by Barla | Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#122439) | Posted by Phil | Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is probably Zawinul's first full out world music venture. It's a great album, slightly better than Heavy Weather I think, and most people know this as Jaco's debut with Weather Report, however, you don't really notice Jaco that much. Alphonso Johnson plays REALLY well on his final stud ... (read more)

Report this review (#42204) | Posted by seabre | Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Black Market is notable for the debut of bass legend Jaco Pastorius in Weather Report. Otherwise, it's a step down from the peaks of Mysterious Traveler and Tale Spinnin'. This isn't to say it's a bad album; these guys are far too accomplished for that. But it sounds tossed off in comparision, w ... (read more)

Report this review (#39547) | Posted by | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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