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Weather Report - Black Market CD (album) cover


Weather Report


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.02 | 307 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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 wasn´t 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 wasn´t 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.

Guillermo | 4/5 |


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