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Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter didn't truly fulfill Weather Report's artistic and commercial potential until they brought on-board a bassist who could function as an equal partner in the musical equation, like co-founder Miroslav Vitous, whose main shortcoming was his inability to play funk. In renegade bassist Jaco Pastorius, the band found a formidable composer and improvisor, who possessed deep roots in funk and R&B, yet was equally at home in modern jazz and Afro-Cuban settings. Not coincidentally, the presence of this innovative fretless bassist on Heavy Weather gave Weather Report the rhythmic/melodic dimension it had been missing since Vitous's departure, as evidenced by his voice-like declamations on Zawinul's ballad "A Remark You Made." On Zawinul's chart-topping, big band-styled arrangement of "Birdland," Pastorius provided the kind of big, sweeping orchestral gestures the tune required, while on the shifting canvas of Wayne Shorter's "Harlequin," the bassist's ability to articulate complex chords allowed him to function as a string section unto himself. And on his own "Havona," Pastorius not only soloed with horn-like artistry, but combined with drummer Alex Acuna and percussionist Manolo Badrena to give Weather Report its funkiest rhythm section ever. --Chip Stern
- Heavy, yes, their Best, no
I have had this album/cassette/CD since it came out. That was way back in 1977, God, does that make me feel old! I remember when this album was new like it was yesterday. This is the first album that features Jaco Pastorius exclusively on bass (Black Market featured him as well as Alphonso Johnson). While most people consider this to be Weather Report's "best" album I tend to disagree. Black Market and Mysterious Traveler are better. But this is by far their most commerically successful album (the song Birdland has become a jazz standard-even The Manhaatan Transfer did a cover of this song, for cryin' out loud!). Nevertheless, it is a great album and fans of Westher Report will not be disappointed. ...more info
- Excellent 1977 Jazz Perfection! Well Thought Out
Weather Report were former musicians who played with Miles Davis.
I find this Fusion Jazz Album very creative and innovative.From this listening to this cd, it sounds like they learned a lot from Miles It Combines electronic gadgets with traditional jazz instruments which blend into a relaxing and soothing sound. It contains the classic Birdland. I would recommend this album to anyone who appreciates good music....more info
- Still raining supreme
Even being as notoriously innovative and influential as they have, HW stands, nearly universally, as Weather Report's most impressively concise work. This '77 mid-career triumph shows the group at a level and consistency of jazz-rock synergy which has yet to be rivaled 30+ years after the fact....more info
- Excellent 1977 Jazz Masterpiece! Powerful And Emotional
Weather Report were former musicians who played with Miles Davis.
I find this Fusion Album very creative and innovative. It Combines electronic gadgets with traditional jazz instruments which blend into a relaxing and soothing sound. I would recommend this album to a jazz fan or to anyone who dosent think that jazz fusion wouldnt work....more info
- My Favorite Album of All Time
I was already a Weather Report fan when this album was originally released in 1977. After hearing it for the first time, I immediately called it the best album I've ever heard.
I don't speak in terms of "bests" anymore, but 32 years after its original release, it is still my favorite album of all time. An absolute masterpiece....more info
- Don't feel guilty
It seems that when I talk or read about this body of music, someone get defensive. Well it is good but... I first heard this CD when I was buying some Infinity speakers. The salesperson used this CD to demo the bass response of the speakers. I bought the speakers and then bought the vinyl. Years later I now have the CD and have even better Infinity speakers. The two were meant for each other....more info
- The Fuse is Lit in Fusion
From reaching at #1 on the Billboard jazz album chart to hitting #30 on the pop album chart, this classic 1977 release quickly became a fusion masterpiece.
Birdland - a Joe Zawinul composition, along with the beautiful ballad, A Remark You Made and The Juggler - quickly became a signature number for WR and a cross-over sensation that will continue to bring listeners into electric jazz. Teen Town and Havona by Jaco Pastorius show his maturation as a composer, with Wayne Shorter nothing less than solid with his numbers, Harlequin and Palladium. Percussionists Alex Acuna and Manolo Badrena penned the snappy Rumba Mama, which is from a live performance at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival.
A tour-de-force of artistry, it turned a superstar jazz group into international pop stars who transcended the labels during the era that shoved music into pigeonholes. ...more info
- Great, but not their best
When Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul teamed up with the late, great Jaco in 1976, fusion fans were stunned. The new band released what I consider their best record, 'Black Market', with drummer Alex Acuna. Then, with percussionist Molono Bandera, they released their most popular record, Heavy Weather'. And it's pretty good.
"Birdland" was the big single, but it's too weird. The live version is much better. "A Remark You Made" and "Harlequin" and two beautiful pieces of music. "Rumba Mama" is a duet between Acuna and Bandera, and is interesting if you have a broad taste in music. However, the real gem of the album is Jaco's "Teen Town". It is 2 minutes and 51 seconds of amazing fretless bass. (Jaco also plays drums on it.) All in all, this is a great Weather Report album and a landmak reocrd in jazz fusion....more info
- Jazz at its finest
thats really all i can say, you must love music and JAZZ to listen to this but if you do you'll love it. the first track is probably the best. these guys are great but like all great things short lived RIP Jaco....more info
- Are you kidding me?
This is arguably the single greatest fusion album of all time. (Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" and Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew" might be its only competition) There are very few combinations of players who seem to form a bit of magic when they were together, but Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, and Jaco Pastorius were one of those combinations. There is a reason why the post-Jaco Weather Report albums were not nearly as good as the ones with him, and it's because that magic was lost.
As far as the album itself goes...I don't even know how to start reviewing this. It's like trying to do an art review on the Mona Lisa or something. I mean, who doesn't know the tune to "Birdland"? I suppose that the argument could be made that the synthesized sounds are outdated, but some of the tunes have become so iconic that you'll hardly notice. And the playing is phenomenal. Wayne Shorter gets a bit of a short shift on this album because it doesn't sound like he's playing anything particularly complex, but when you look at the music, you'll see why. In some sections, the chord changes are literally happening EVERY SINGLE BEAT. That's ridiculous.
And Jaco is just a madman (and considering his condition, I mean this in a good way). There has never been a fretless player like him since, and I doubt that there ever will be again.
If you are interested in fusion, buy this and Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" immediately. You won't be disappointed....more info
- Doesn't hold up
I hadn't listened to this for years, but lately I've been getting out my old LP's and checking them out. I was surprised at how bland this recording is. "Birdland" is one perky tune, sure, but the rest sounds so generic. My wife said it reminded her of John Klemmer. The advent of Jaco Pastorius was the beginning of the end for this band. He was a truly gifted bassist, but his musical ideas were nothing more than run-of-the-mill. Once Wayne Shorter decided to spend the rest of his career coasting, Zawinul and Pastorius took the band into increasingly dull directions. "Heavy Weather" doesn't stand up over time....more info
- NEW 2007 JAPAN REMASTER(S) AVAILABLE
In 2007, the main 16 Weather Report Columbia titles were re-released in Japan with new DSD remastering in mini-sleeve format. From an audio quality standpoint, the DSD versions now supercede all the earlier standard-CD-audio U.S. releases (some of the WR catalog are available as SACD's).
Additionally, the Japan editions feature a welcome 2CD restoration of "8:30" to the original 13-track double-LP album configuration, with the proper inclusion of "Scarlet Woman", which had been edited off all domestic editions to allow for a cheaper, single-disc release.
So far, the WR DSD catalog is only available in mini-sleeve format, and all `sleeves are limited edition. If it is your desire to own the latest/greatest audio, then don't delay in picking these up, although it is always possible that Sony Japan will release them again as less expensive jewel case editions somewhere down the road. However, for the true WR fan and vinyl nut, it's great to have the wonderful mini-LP replicas of the original LP covers!
I wanted to provide links for each 2007 `sleeve edition, but unfortunately, Amazon only allows 10 per review. But, by linking to the 2007 DSD remaster of the first Weather Report album, you should be able to use the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" tool to locate the rest of the 2007 DSD titles (just make sure you verify the release date and Product Description).
Also, of note: In this same release were updated DSD remasters of the following WR-member solo albums, also as mini-sleeves:
Jaco Pastorius (1st album)
Wayne Shorter "Native Dancer"
Joe Zawinul "Di-a-lects"
And, the two Havana Jam albums, both where WR appeared live, also as `sleeves:
Havana Jam 1
Havana Jam 2
And, FINALLY: 2007 witnessed John McLaughlin finally relenting to release the full Trio Of Doom studio & live recordings, the awesome line-up of McLaughlin, Pastorius and Tony Williams, which could only be found previously on the Havana Jam albums, albeit in edited form.
WHAT IS A JAPAN "MINI-LP-SLEEVE" CD?
Have you ever lamented the loss of one of the 20th Century's great art forms, the 12" vinyl LP jacket? Then "mini-LP-sleeve" CD's may be for you.
Mini-sleeve CDs are manufactured in Japan under license. The disc is packaged inside a 13.5MM X 13.5MM cardboard-sleeve, precision-miniature replica of the original classic vinyl-LP album. Also, everything else packaged with the original LP is precisely replicated and included, such as gatefolds, booklets, lyric sheets, posters, printed LP sleeves, stickers, embosses, special LP cover paper/inks/textures and die cuts. An English-language lyric sheet is also included, even if the original LP did not have printed lyrics.
Then, there's the sonic quality: Often (but not always), mini-sleeves have Japan-dedicated remastering (20-Bit, 24-Bit, DSD, K2 or K2HD, and/or HDCD), and can often (but not always) be superior to the audio on the same title anywhere else in the world. There also may be bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.
Each Japan mini-sleeve has an "OBI" ("oh-bee"), a Japan-language promotional strip. The OBI often also lists the original album's release date, the Japan street date of that particular disc, the catalog number, and mastering info. Bonus tracks are always only listed on the OBI, maintaining the integrity of the original LP artwork.
The enthusiasm of mini-sleeve collecting must be tempered, however, with avoiding fake copies of Japan `sleeves manufactured in Russia and distributed throughout the world, primarily on eBay. They are inferior in quality, worthless in collectable value, a total waste of money, and should be avoided at all costs.
Also, there are older Japan mini-sleeve releases that have been supplanted with newer ones, usually with updated audio (such as JVC-Japan replacing older K2-mastered titles with new K2HD mastered releases).
All mini-sleeve releases are limited edition, but re-pressings/re-issues are becoming more common with some of the Japanese companies (but, again, not always). Mini-sleeve collecting can get expensive quickly, so, if you're a novice, it is highly advisable to seek the advice of an experienced `sleeve collector!...more info
- Birdland alone is worth the price of this CD
And so is the incredible Jaco Pastorius on his fret-less electric base. Really, the only sub-par track on this CD is the very short Rumba Mama. ...more info
- The Best album of an all star fusion Jazz band
This album earns its place in music history--an epitome of fusion and jazz rock forthcoming. It is a unique and intricate blend of different tastes and styles of music. Zawinul provides beautifully crafted molodies; Shorter, sweet wholesome leading tones; Acuna and Badrena, delicious percussion patterns. And then, they had a pyro-technical bassist by the name of Jaco Pastorius, who provides strengthly attractive rhythmic\melodic bass sound. I play bass and guitar, and I found that his bass style does not only provide a solid rhythm section for the band, it indeed has prominent melodic roles of the band. I would consider that he takes two roles at the same time--one as a bassist and the other as a guitar player. His approach to his bass style and his music is quit similar to Jimi Hendrix to guitar or Paganini to violin.
The album earns its place in modern music history; the band earns its place in the top echelon of modern jazz pantheon. They are indeed giants among giants....more info
- Testmant to great music
You buy it originally on vinyl, then get a tape to take in the car. When it comes out on CD, you buy the CD. Okay, then I found a copy in a used record store and grabbed it to keep in the car. That's what happened with me and "Heavy Weather."
"Birdland" drew me into the CD, but there's so much more than this one song to listen to. Weather Report's not just jazz, but a fusion of rock and African music.
"Heavy Weather" is the first jazz I ever bought and still some of the best. ...more info
- "Super Audio" format will not play in your CD player
Amazon ships this CD in a proprietary Sony format. It will not play in your player or on your computer. Amazon does not list this in the description!
I found out the hard way why a really popular jazz album is selling for only $7!...more info
- Excellent 1977 Jazz Masterpiece! Powerful And Emotional
Weather Report were former musicians who played with Miles Davis.
I find this Fusion Jazz Album very creative and innovative.From this listening to this cd, it sounds like they learned a lot from Miles It Combines electronic gadgets with traditional jazz instruments which blend into a relaxing and soothing sound. It contains the classic Birdland. I would recommend this album to a jazz fan....more info
- Amazing album
As a music-love, this album is one of my favorites. As a bassist, Jaco's playing boggles my mind. His "Teen Town" and the incredibly funky playing on Zawinul's "Birdland" demonstrate a mastery of an instrument that few have ever attained. "Rhumba Mama" at first seems out of place until the back & forth calls subside & the percussion duet picks up speed. "Palladium" is a great song, with Jaco's playing again supported everything Zawinul & Shorter wrote for this band. "A Remark You Made" is classic Weather Report, and "Havona" has a driving drum groove provided by Alex Acu?a. Zawinul's supportive chordal textures provide a backdrop for Jaco's ghost-noted funk/fusion line and Shorter's high soprano line leaps from note to note....more info
- BEWARE - SUPER AUDIO CD Format Does Not Play!!!
With great anticipation, I purchased this CD but it came in some obscure "Super Audio CD" format by Sony. It is unplayable on my CD player and unreadable on my laptop. The Amazon product description does not designate this. Bummer. Now I have to go through some return/replace hassle....more info
- outstanding although...
I have just been introduced to WR because a friend had told me about Jaco Pastorius, and when I looked him up on the net, I saw that he had played with WR. WR has always had a reputation of having the very best musicians of the day, and so I did some research and ended up buying Heavy Weather because it was the commercial peak of WR (a gold record, 500k).
Now that I've been listening to it for about a week, here are my comments:
There are four songs on the album that I like, the rest are boring. Birdland is an amazing uptempo song. A remark you made sounds really dated and slow, although it has an interesting solo section. Teen Town is one of Jaco's compositions, and it has an amazing clockwork beat, and a dark atmospheric feel, which I did enjoy. The next two songs were boring. Then you get to track 6, Palladium. This is Wayne Shorter's composition, and I must say, it is far and away my favorite song on the CD. It's really uptempo, and Afro-Cuban. The percussion and drums are dead on, and even dizzying. Jaco is of course in top form here, and Z doesn't get to show much, but the whole thing is really a hallmark. Palladium makes me feel good, a buzz, a high. The next song was too weird for me. The last song was a Jaco composition. I can't remember the title, but it reminded me of something Rush might have composed except the bass line was a million times harder. Jaco did shine, and the whole thing had some interesting chord changes. In sum, I guess you could say I like the upbeat, jazzier WR. For those four songs, I definitely think it was worth buying the album. Z seems to keep his skills low key, although if you pay close attention, you will catch him doing a quick run here or there. And I did love Jaco, who doesn't? As an aspiring bassist, or should I say, learning bassist, I get a lot of inspiration from WR and Jaco. But I would be lying if I didn't say that the highlight of the album, and I'm probably the only one who will ever admit this in the presence of Jaco on the album, was Acuna's efforts. He was always crisp, ahead of the beat, and his fills could not have been better-chosen. Acuna is a wizard, and a real pleasure to listen to.
So that's my take on Heavy Weather. Highly recommended. This is the central piece, the main hub, by which a whole genre - fusion - has been built around....more info
- They don't play'um like Paco anymore.
"Birdland" [first track] is an unbelievable masterpiece. Jaco Pastorius on the magnificent four string bass (before we knew what a 5 string bass would sound like he previewed the sound with a 4 string). And add Wayne Shorter on Sax and you have 4 or 5 really decent tracks for the 'jazz- heads' among you. I was lucky enough to have witnessed this magic live in Austin Texas about 1977 at the old Paramount Theater. It was the 'Heavy Weather Tour' and they opened with "Birdland". Other than a small tech. bug in the synth at the beginning of the show it was great....more info
- essential weather report
I actually worked at a theatre as a stagehand when this album came out, and was being supported by their tour. I sat about 12 feet away from Jaco during the show. This collection is a must for any current or would be fan of Weather Report....more info