Weather Report
Weather Report


4.0
excellent

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
July 5th, 2012 | 20 replies | 2,475 views


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An impressive debut, but far from perfect. A look into the first effort from one of the defining acts in Jazz Fusion.

The musical style that comprises the compositions in Weather Report expresses a very familiar aesthetic. The orchestrations exhibit a more atmospheric approach to Jazz music, a continuation of a concept often explored by Miles Davis throughout his electric period. This of course comes to no surprise as lead composers, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, worked with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew the previous year. Like Bitches Brew, the music in Weather Report puts a great deal of emphasis on atmospheric textures, providing an ambient landscape for the musicians to indulge in their own soloistic voyages. But unlike Bitches Brew, it lacks excitement. There are very little moments of musical spontaneity and dextrous instrumental passages- the core essence of a Jazz performance.

The album opens with "Milky Way", which serves as an ambient overture to induce a celestial environment, a calming soundscape to stimulate our senses before the actual performance. As "Milky Way" evaporates from our perceptions, we descend right into "Umbrellas" and "Seventh Arrow". Both songs display some of the most energetic moments of the album, but they are driven by different agendas. In "Umbrellas", Alphonse Mouzon's drumming establishes a rhythmic landscape, one which all the other instruments use as the foundation to improvise their own solos. There is a great synergy here between all of the musicians, everyone is just feeding off each other, providing a truly captivating jam.

But where the music of "Umbrellas" was more mellow and exploratory, "Seventh Arrow" picks up the pace for a more elevated performance. Alphonse Mouzon and bassist Miroslav Vitouš take it upon themselves to provide a much more accelerated framework for the song, with each instrument venturing into their own solos one by one. "Seventh Arrow" is certainly the highlight of this album, as it is flowing with intensity. Every musician is giving it their all here in one explosive instrumental frenzy. Wayne Shorter is erupting in and out on the saxophone with his solo deliveries, Joe Zawinul decorates the harmonic groove with piano arrangements, while Miroslav Vitouš and Alphonse Mouzon release vigorously dynamic rhythmic variations in the background.

And from all of this musical exhilaration, we descend into the more alleviated portion of the album. Songs like "Orange Lady" and "Morning Lake" express a more gentle instrumentation, with Joe Zawinul providing a meditative ethereal landscape decorated in psychedelia, adding a dream like texture to the music. Wayne Shorter also provides delicate saxophone solos so as to add to the gentle ambience at hand. "Tears" and "Eurydice" are a return to a more lively performance, but they are not nearly as captivating as "Seventh Arrow". Weather Report is an album that tries to simulate a similar sense of musical hypnotism induced by other Jazz Fusion albums like In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. And it certainly succeeds in producing an exquisitely trancing environment, but it hardly ever takes us to a more exciting realm. What makes albums like In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew such mesmerizing listening experiences is that they are odysseys. Leaving us to explore various musical dimensions, each one providing something different, with moments of ups and downs to captivate our enthusiasm. But Weather Report relies too much on ambience and delicate textures to try and allure us into its world, and unfortunately, that's what keeps it from being a classic.



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2012



4371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Part 1 of my "Weather Report series"

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2012



19884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Props for reviewing this. Need to listen to these guys more, what I've heard from them is great.

Excellent review as usual, pos'd.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2012



4371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, thank you. and yeah theyre a good band, I hope you enjoy them.

Chrisjon89
July 5th 2012



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't know Mouzon was on this. I bought Heavy Weather cos I love Shorter but was a bit underwhelmed. I preferred this.

Good review.

Digging: Ichiko Aoba - 0%

KILL
July 5th 2012



70284 Comments


dayum

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

DarthMann
July 5th 2012



13472 Comments


hey this is adrian hetzberg with the weather

BirthRite
July 5th 2012



1318 Comments


We're live in the weather studio today folks!! It's gonna be a great sunny day! The beaches are gonna be booming with female fish and slimy sunscreen!!

For a look at our 5 day forecast: Paperbackwriter might be covering the WHOLE DISCOGRAPHY!!!

It's looking great! Here's looking at you! Fernando Vasquez Esqueda Romeo, I'm out!

ZedO
July 5th 2012



1096 Comments


what do we get here brother, jazz fusion? so, this is a must listen stuff!

pos'd

TheFonz123
July 5th 2012



2795 Comments


not big on jazz fusion in general but there are a bunch of quality acts like this one


HSThomas
July 5th 2012



668 Comments


Album is awesomesauce though they got far better on Mysterious Traveller. Also band rapes Return To Forever.

CaptainDooRight
July 5th 2012



28295 Comments


Good review, pos. This looks good. I gotta check it.

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

YoYoMancuso
July 5th 2012



10751 Comments


my dad loves these guys, just "borrowed" this cd from his living room and it's pretty damn solid.

MarvinLapsus
July 6th 2012



128 Comments


Good review (as usually). Pos.

@YoYoMancuso: My father likes weather report, too. Assuming you enjoyed them, I should definitely check them out.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2012



4371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys.

An yeah, Marvin you should certainly give them a listen.

CaptainDooRight
July 13th 2012



28295 Comments


some sick diggy stuff here, super chill, love it man!

sniper
November 12th 2013



18929 Comments


there's no review for the live album in tokyo, but that shit is mad good, i always forget just how good they were in the early days. it's a shame their studio work was never that aggressive.

straight fire.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2013



4371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They weren't really about aggression though, at least not like The Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return To Forever. These guys were more influenced by in a silent way-era Miles and Headhunters, so they were more about grooving than jamming. Though I agree it is a shame, because songs like "Herandnu" really show off how well they can get into energetic jams without going overboard with it.

CaptainDooRight
November 12th 2013



28295 Comments


I remember this album.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2013



19884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good stuff.

sniper
November 12th 2013



18929 Comments


i feel you pepper. that recording is some really quality stuff though, wayne shorter in very rare form. not that he has every laid down a bad track but it's uncommon to hear him playing with so much, well, fire.



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