A new Weather Report lineup makes its debut here, with Victor Bailey filling Jaco Pastorius' shoes, Omar Hakim on drums, Jose Rossy on percussion, and Joe Zawinul now thoroughly in charge. But contrary to the conventional wisdom which claims that WR went downhill after the departure of Pastorius/Erskine, the new lineup actually recharged WR's creative batteries; the material here is superior to that of the previous two albums at least. Bailey, while not Jaco's technical equal, is mobile enough to project through the texture, and Hakim has the versatility and swinging Third World rhythmic influences that must have appealed to Zawinul. "Procession" itself is a masterly Zawinul tone poem, with moody electronics and voices building to an emotional crescendo and ebbing away, a high point in WR's output. Even Wayne Shorter's sole composition "Plaza Real" is the most interesting tune he had come up with in a long time. The Manhattan Transfer, the champions of "Birdland," make a fascinating electronically distorted appearance on Zawinul's marvelous "Where the Moon Goes." This is an unjustly overlooked Weather Report treasure, hopefully due for CD reissue soon.
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell