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Heavy Weather

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Album Review

Weather Report's biggest-selling album is that ideal thing, a popular and artistic success — and for the same reasons. For one thing, Joe Zawinul revealed an unexpectedly potent commercial streak for the first time since his Cannonball Adderley days, contributing what has become a perennial hit, "Birdland." Indeed, "Birdland" is a remarkable bit of record-making, a unified, ever-developing piece of music that evokes, without in any way imitating, a joyous evening on 52nd St. with a big band. The other factor is the full emergence of Jaco Pastorius as a co-leader; his dancing, staccato bass lifting itself out of the bass range as a third melodic voice, completely dominating his own ingenious "Teen Town" (where he also plays drums!). By now, Zawinul has become WR's de facto commander in the studio; his colorful synthesizers dictate the textures, his conceptions are carefully planned, with little of the freewheeling improvisation of only five years before. Wayne Shorter's saxophones are now reticent, if always eloquent, beams of light in Zawinul's general scheme while Alex Acuña shifts ably over to the drums and Manolo Badrena handles the percussion. Released just as the jazz-rock movement began to run out of steam, this landmark album proved that there was plenty of creative life left in the idiom. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

one of the Top Five definitive jazz albums

If you are starting out trying to discover your taste in jazz, there are five albums you need to by to help you. This is one of them.

Unparalleled musicianship

A bassist's bassist, a keyboardist's keyboardist. Even if Birdland wasn't a classic composition that blew open so called fusion music, this album would be remarkable only for the brilliant playing of Zawinul and Pastorius. Teen Town is a bass player's Shangri La. The keys and synth arrangements are source material for the entire body of electronic music that emerged in the last 30 years. You could arguably credit Joseph Zawinul and Herbie Hancock for opening the door to the twenty-first century so jazz music could walk through it.


Formed: 1970

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Weather Report started out as a jazz equivalent of what the rock world in 1970 was calling a "supergroup." But unlike most of the rock supergroups, this one not only kept going for a good 15 years, it more than lived up to its billing, practically defining the state of the jazz-rock art throughout almost all of its run. Weather Report also anticipated and contributed to the North American interest in world music rhythms and structures, prodded by keyboardist/co-founder Joe Zawinul. And WR, like many...
Full bio
Heavy Weather, Weather Report
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock, Fusion
  • Released: 1977

Customer Ratings