Weather Report

Weather Report [1982]

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For some crafty reason, Weather Report gave its 11th Columbia album the same eponymous title as its first, which no doubt led to massive retail confusion. It is the last WR album for Peter Erskine, Jaco Pastorius, and Robert Thomas, Jr.; Thomas left the band soon afterwards. And with Pastorius receding a bit into the background, the creative balance tilts heavily toward Joe Zawinul, who contributes all but one of the seven compositions. "Volcano for Hire" and "Dara Factors One and Two" are the requisite Zawinul groove-athons, and his deepening awareness of the rapidly improving synthesizer's harmonic and timbral possibilities color such tracks as "Current Affairs" and the three-part "N.Y.C." suite. Though the creativity level seems to be on medium-tank here, the band could still startle the ear with surprising new sounds, a supremely pithy Wayne Shorter statement, or fresh Third World spices. Their ability to swing is never in doubt.

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