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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke



Recorded 1973 - 1980.

Columbia/Legacy CD 5076592


Various personnel including: Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Peter Erskine and Alphonso Johnson.

1. Birdland
2. Mysterious Traveller
3. Boogie Woogie Waltz
4. The Elders
5. Night Passage
6. Freezing Fire
7. A Remark You Made
8. Elegant People
9. Man In The Green Shirt
10. Blackthorn Rose
11. Black Market

This compilation is an interesting selection from the recorded legacy of this ground breaking group. As the liner note so rightly states, it is very difficult to describe exactly the type of music for which Weather Report were so justly famous. The best description of it is probably that it is an extension of the experiences, both in terms of influence and previous performance, of the main protagonists. The style itself is not a constant and evolves and mutates with the passage of time. This was a group that became renowned for its use of electronic sounds and the fusion of Rock and World elements into Jazz, and yet was equally at ease in re-interpreting the Duke Ellington standard " Rocking In Rhythm" ( unfortunately not include amongst the tracks here ).
The album kicks off with the groups biggest hit and most universally known tune "Birdland" which is Joe Zawinul's homage to the New York club of that name. There have been many other fine versions of this piece ( Stanley Turrentine, Quincy Jones ) but it is this rendition with its infectious rhythms and vocals blended with the instruments which has remained as the seminal version.
I particularly enjoyed the numbers from "Mysterious Traveller", an album with which I was unfamiliar - in fact I liked these selections so much that I purchased the re-release of this disc. Possibly my appreciation was influenced through the strong performance of Wayne Shorter on soprano on the title track. Sometimes he was a little further back in the mix.
"Night Passage" is interesting with its neo- swing styling, and the selections from "Tail Spinnin' " and "Black Market " are all of a similarly high quality. This disc is ideal for anyone approaching the works of this band for the first time - the aficionado will surely wish to hear each album in its entirety.

Dick Stafford


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