Weather Report

This Is This!

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Or shall we say, that is that, the final album by a group called Weather Report, now captained and guided by Josef Zawinul. The photo of Zawinul and Wayne Shorter shaking hands on the back cover of the LP is definitely a farewell gesture, for Shorter turns up on only three of the eight cuts (having left the band while this record was being made), and the record's world-music slant gives it a closer kinship with Zawinul's subsequent albums than with WR's earlier output. Already on the delicate "I'll Never Forget You," Zawinul's synthesizer is replacing Wayne as a simulated solo wind voice. Minu Cinelu is on percussion on vocals, Victor Bailey on bass, and co-producer Peter Erskine returns for one final fling on drums (Omar Hakim handles the sticks on "Consequently"). The best thing on the album is the joyous title track, which swaggers along with the help of guest guitarist Carlos Santana's flashy rock obligatos. Santana also takes the lead on "Man With the Copper Fingers," another preview of textures to come in Zawinul's future bands. A somewhat diffuse passage of transition, This Is This is the weakest link in the impressive string of WR albums (Zawinul's prime material from this period can be found on his solo album Dialects, released only four months before this one).

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