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Weather Report - Live In Hamburg 1971
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Weather Report's 1971 performance on the groundbreaking German TV show, Beat Club made commercially available for the first time on DVD. This early lineup of Weather Report features Alphonse Mouzon (drums), Miroslav Vitous (bass), and Dom Um Romao (percussion), alongside founding members Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. It is this line up, responsible for an altogether earthier sounding offering, that went on to record the band's sophomore release, I Sing The Body Electric.
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Alphonse Mouzon, to me, is the real star here. He is simply a joy to watch - the polyrhythmic lines he plays are accented by the percussion of Dom Um Romao. Together the two power this ensemble through an eventful set. Weather Report never really regained full traction after his departure. Eric Gravatt was a worthy successor but not to the level of Alphonse Mouzon. Peter Erskine was a dominant force in the later editions of the band but it wasn't the same ensemble at that point.
This is EARLY Weather Report at its best. Yes, it's too short, but you'd like these guys to go all night. It's strange not to hear an audience erupt into applause when they finish - I certainly did at home.
VERY highly recommended!!!
This DVD is a little short (48 minutes) but it it is worth every penny. If it were longer it would get 5 stars. I couldn't ask for a better performance, better sound or video quality from a videotape of this era.
I saw Weather Report twice in the Omar Hakim/Victor Bailey era but I prefer the original lineup, even more than the Jaco era..and I'm a bass player and Jaco fan but nothing beats this early stuff.
What is really amazing is that this recording was hidden for almost 40 years; only Seventh Arrow had seen the light in a previous Beat Club DVD compilation
Radio Bremen's Beat Club was a TV show that run from 1965 until 1972 with a number of later reincarnations such as Musikladen. The program offered broadcast for pop and progressive bands and allowed musicians to perform their music without any restrictions, giving space for improvisation specially for progressive rock acts. Beat Club recorded the best of the bands from America and Europe and is highly regarded as a main source for vintage material of progressive and experimental bands of the 60' s and 70's and fortunately they have been releasing their material during the last 10 years (first on laser disc in Japan and later on DVD worldwide)
In this context we found WR at Beat Club. By then Airto Moreira had left because his commitments with Miles didn't allow him to go on tour with the band (so he had recommended Dom Um Romao); also Don Alias and Barbara Burton were no longer anymore part of the band (Where are their credits for the first WR album?).
They played almost all their eponymous and awarded first album (I wish they had performed Milky Way) and for my knowledge this is the complete recording. Also they performed a number by M Vitous called "TH" that they used to play live and that latter appeared on the live side of "I sing the Body Electric" as part of a medley and also on the japan - only album "Live In Tokyo" (which included the complete show from which the live side of "I sing.." was taken from, as you all know). The last composition is a strong improvisation (with vocal by ex Mcoy Turner drummer A. Mouzon), that included the track "Doctor Honoris Causa" from Zawinul's eponymous 1971 solo album
As that first WR album was based on the ideas that J Zawinul and W Shorter were developing during their time with Miles Davis (Bitches Brew), you will find a number of common points between Miles and this music by WR.
The performance is continuous with improvisations that made these versions absolutely unique, thanks to the freedom given by Beat Club production team. Stage production shows WR performing in a 360 degrees formation with a black background different to the classic Beat Club projections and video effects (you can actually see cameramen moving from one side to another to get the best takes).
Sound and image are just fantastic for a 40 years old recording.
I do recommend this DVD to anyone involved in WR, Miles Davis And Josef "Joe" Zawinul