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Black Market Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, June 4, 2002
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Black Market
  2. Cannon Ball
  3. Gibraltar
  4. Elegant Pepole
  5. Three Clowns
  6. Barbary Coast
  7. Herandnu


Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000066T3M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,282 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Weather Report's second "phase" (1973-76) established its (now famous) sound, variously characterized by:
1. Mysterious and ethereal compositions
2. Funky rhythm & blues "grooves"
3. Elaborate electronic textures
4. Virtuoso supporting musicians
5. Influence of diverse musical cultures
"BLACK MARKET" (1976) evinces a maturity of approach, the band consolidating artistic gains from previous years by constructing a unified group of suite-like musical landscapes that draw on elements of jazz, funk and "world music".
The opener ( "Black Market" ), with its infectious melodic "hook", radiates a positive, life-affirming warmth (nice solos and firm, funky rhythmic support) while the closing moments provide a sobering contrast: synthesized imitations of gun and artillery fire reflecting the tragedy of strife endemic (then and now) in many parts of the war-torn "third world".
"Cannonball" is a tribute to (then recently deceased) Julian Adderley, the famous alto saxophonist/bandleader who was Joe Zawinul's former employer. The tune, while pleasant enough, is somewhat lightweight: its streamlined style and overtly sentimental melody presage similar material to follow on their next ( and most famous ) album "Heavy Weather" ( note that Jaco Pastorius' recorded debut with WR took place on "Cannonball" ).
"Gibraltar" opens to sounds of the portside city (waves & foghorns) and softly evocative soprano sax before giving way to a prototypical Weather Report groove superbly laid down by bassist Alphonso Johnson.
Wayne Shorter's "Elegant People" is one of the perennial Weather Report favorites with its feeling of romantic intrigue and flamenco influenced (Phrygian) cadences (yet another infectious thematic "hook" and some impassioned tenor sax by Shorter).
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Format: Audio CD
In their 15-year career, Weather Report managed to release over a dozen albums, and not one of them is bad. However, the most interesting ones to the listen are the "transitional" albums that capture the band in the midst of a change. Not only is Black Market one of these albums, it is also among their best. It was recorded using two drummers and two bassists, and marks the first Weather Report recording with Mr. Jaco Pastorius (although Jaco only appears on two out of seven cuts. The other five feature ex-bassist Alphonso Johnson). Alex Acuna, the man behind the kit for WR's breakthrough album, Heavy Weather, also debuts as a memeber of the fusion band here. Track by track this record is phenomenal.
"Black Market"- Alphonso lays down an ultra-funky groove to give the album one hip start.
"Cannon Ball"- A great song for two reasons. One, it is a Joe Zawinul ballad, and that is reason enough to label it a masterpiece (think of "Orange Lady" or "A Remark You Made"). It is dedicated to the late alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. This is also Jaco's first appearance on the record.
"Gibraltar"- An amazingly exsquisite piece by Zawinul. It starts out as a breathtaking journey, then switches to a pure fusion ditty.
"Elegant People"- Wayne Shorter's shining moment on this record. His tenors and altos have never sounded so sweet. I've had the good fortune to snag a videotape performance of the band circa 1976, and the song is beautifully preformed on it.
"Three Clowns"- Another Shorter piece, and although it is good, it's just not terribly exciting.
"Barbary Coast"- This brief, bass-driven piece is almost specifically a way to introduce the amazing talents of Jaco Pastorius.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm guessing that most people reading this are already familiar with the excellent music on this CD. You're probably also familiar with the irritating music industry practice of issuing a medicore mix of a great recording and later issuing a "new and improved" edition. However, I have to admit that the recent Columbia/Sony remasters of Weather Report's mid-70's albums are phenomenal. The clarity, warmth, and imaging are the best I've heard from any remastered recording. In fact, the sound quality is better than some CD's I've heard that were recorded in the last year or two. If you're a Weather Report fan, you'll love this remastered edition of Black Market. The new remasters of Tale Spinnin' and Mysterious Traveller are just as good.
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Format: Audio CD
Much has been made of Jaco Pastorius's impact when he joined Weather Report in 1976, in time for two tunes on this album. Some cite his inclusion into the band as the addition of a third creative voice that had been missing since Miroslav Vitous was a member. Some say that when Pastorius joined, Weather Report took a wrong turn in its musical direction, and that it's his fault. I really don't think either is the case; Jaco was indeed a third voice, at times redefining the bass's role to be a melodic instrument rather than accompaniment, but Alphonso Johnson, the bassist present for most of this album, is by no means a weak link or a missing voice that should have spoken. As for Jaco steering Weather Report down the wrong road, this is simply not true. For those who find later Weather Report ("Heavy Weather" and especially the albums after it) to be inferior, this is more aptly attributed to the fact that co-leaders Wayne Shorter and especially Joe Zawinul were having an increasingly difficult time coming up with creative new material. Jaco did not kill Weather Report; he merely joined at its peak and was with the band as it began to taper off in creativity. He did have the good fortune (or maybe it's our fortune) to be present on "Heavy Weather" and "Night Passage," two fantastic albums.

But for my money, the best unit Weather Report ever had was the one present on most of this album: Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Joe Zawinul on keyboards and synthesizers (and synthesizers, and synthesizers, and more synthesizers), Alphonso Johnson on bass, Chester Thompson on drums, and Alejandro Neciosup Acuna on percussion. Of all the drummers to play with Weather Report, Chester Thompson was the only one to really light a fire under the rest of the band and push it forward.
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