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Some jazz fan acquaintances used to point to this recording and complain that Zawinul had kidnapped Wayne Shorter and was holding incommunicado in some safe house in Newark. To them there were no solos. They missed the point. Rather than soloing over an accompanying rhythm section, Shorter plays a kind of running commentary, coming in an out of a mix in which the bass(es) and percussion are given equal billing to Shorter's sax and Zawinul's keyboards. Sometimes everyone solos at once and it takes very, very accomplished musicians to pull this off without it degenerating into cacophony.
Yet it would be misleading to pigeonhole this record as Weather Report surrenders to the groove. Perhaps the most remarkable composition on the disk is Miroslav Vitous' ethereal "Will" which is percussion-less. Indeed, one of the remarkable things about this record are how varied the six pieces are: two open-ended jams - "Boogie Woogie Waltz" and "125th Street Congress;" a fairly conventional Shorter composition "Manolette;" two Zawinul tone poems a la "In A Silent Way" or "His Last Journey," "Adios" and "Non-Stop Home;" and Vitous' transcendent "Will."
The other reason to get this disk is the way it sounds. The mass conversion of analogue tapes to digital formats has yielded some real disasters - e.g. Shorter's "Native Dancer" where entire instruments disappeared from the mix. This recording, in contrast, is a case in which the move to CD is a clear improvement over the original vinyl.Read more ›
This is the high point of Weather Report's studio career and one of the greatest fusion recordings.
(This review is based on the previous edition of Sweetnighter, from the 90s, which sounds perfectly fine to my ears.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent piece of musical mastery... Great imaginary landscapes... Great choice...Published 2 months ago by Katherine T. Nowacki
Released just before Mysterious Traveller, can't stop listening to it since received it.Published 8 months ago by Patrice
I loved WR , I have it in vinyl and missed hearing the wonderful music. I had to order it .Published 9 months ago by Jess Rabb Jr
A to the point reminder that Joe Zawinul was bringing the funk from the beginning with the great Cannonball Adderley bands. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Andy O'