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Mysterious Traveller

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Editors’ Notes

Mysterious Traveller marked a rebirth for Weather Report, who'd finally reached a point of blossoming after a few years of growing pains. They welcomed into the fold bassist Alphonso Johnson, who helped spark the band’s newfound focus on dexterous electric funk. The music may have been as spacy as a late-night visit to the planetarium, but this was clearly a group with R&B in its bones. “Cucumber Slumber” might be the most limber and wiggly song in the group’s entire career, while Wayne Shorter’s “Mysterious Traveler” offers a lesson in old-fashioned odorous funk, even as the chorus surges forth with a monstrous riff worthy of Led Zeppelin. The opening track, Joe Zawinul’s “Nubian Sundance,” unifies all the group’s divergent impulses in a single track. The song’s percussive underpinning is relentless and doesn't let up for the entirety of is 10 minutes. Yet the band still manage to inhabit moments of total tranquility, thanks in large part to the lush and liquid tones that Zawinul was able to pull from his newly minted arsenal of synthesizers.

Customer Reviews

Mysterious Masterpiece

iTunes doesn't mention this, so I will -- you're looking at Downbeat Magazine's Jazz Album of the Year from '74. As strange as a rain forest, as powerful and frightening as a pagan rite, and as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa, this amazing album may have been the summit of fusion jazz's possibilities, before it all went melting into the vanilla mush of "Smooth Jazz". Strap on the earphones, and stop running around. Lie flat on your back, close your eyes, and be taken away from here. If you still know how to really listen, you will be amazed by this trip. A Mysterious Masterpiece.

No, really I think this is the Greatest Jazz Fusion Album of all Time!

I know that popular opinion is that Jaco was the " man". No question probably the best bass player of his generation, but in my mind, Alphonso Johnson really was the guy who defined how the rhythm section should sound like in order to complete Joe & Wayne's vision. This album was just so far ahead of it's time in terms of world beat, and was really the first to put more emphasis on the "Jazz" in Jazz/Rock fusion. My best Bud and I went to see two shows when they were touring in support of this release . Both times they were opening act on the bill, and both times we walked out halfway through the headliners sets, because we just didn't want to spoil the experience of what we had just heard from Weather Report. And we were huge fans of the headliners! One of my desert island disks. You will never find anything funkier than Cucumber Slumber.

Got me on the road

"Nubian Sundance ..." One day in Los Angeles, on KNAC when it was a classic FM alternative station rock station ... oh, say 1973, John Clark started his show (the Import Show) with this song eventhough it wasn't, strictly speaking, an import. It remains to this day my favourite Weather Report song of all time ... worth a listen if you haven't heard it, and very other worldly. It made a big impact on my musical tastes, and so did John's show. Wonderful album.


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...
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