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




Recorded California 1975


Wayne Shorter - soprano & tenor saxophones; Joe Zawinul - electric piano, melodica, tonto, ARP 2600, organ, muzthra, vocal, acoustic piano, West Africk, xylophone, cymbals; Alphonso Johnson - electric bass; Alyrio Lima - percussion; Ndugu - drums, tympani, marching percussion.

1. Man In The Green Shirt
2. Lusitanos
3. Between The Thighs
4. Badia
5. Freezing Fire
6. Five Short Stories

"Tail Spinnin' " has long been my all time favourite Weather Report album. This might be due to the fact that it was the first of their releases I ever bought, or it might equally be due to the fact that this disc is packed with a variety of different styles, all of which swing in their own fashion. The compositions of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter seemed to reach a new maturity and directness at this time and the group is as tight as it ever was or, indeed, ever became.

Shorter is to be heard mainly on soprano saxophone and he has by this time reached a quite staccato mode of delivery in certain passages ( "Man In The Green Shirt," " Between The Thighs" ). His control of this most wayward of the saxophones is masterful and his playing is replete with smears and other subtle tonal nuances.

Zawinul performs on a whole arsenal of keyboards, synthesizers and percussion, including some very tastefully mixed steel pans on "Between The Thighs." At this point in his career his creativity seemed to be driving him to constantly seek new and different combinations of sound. His compositions range from the driving, almost frantic, "Man In The Green Shirt", inspired by an old West Indian man dancing, to the eastern sounding " Badia" with its alternate meditative and swinging passages which feature an early use of the hand-clap as rhythmic accompaniment.

The drums and percussion of Ndugu and Lima are particularly effective on this recording and the bass playing of Johnson is absolutely superb. As I stated earlier, it is the group interaction that really makes this session - it is a true example of the blend of the great talent on display creating a much more fulfilling entity. Highly recommended.

Dick Stafford



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