Weather Report

PastoriusThe origins of this innovative group started in late 1969. The 3 founding members, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, and bassist Miroslav Vitous had performed with world renowned bands and had recorded with some of the most important artists in jazz. They had all played together on a series of recordings together in 1969-1970, including the albums Zawinul, Super Nova, and Bitches Brew. Shorter and Zawinul had established themselves as two of the most influential jazz composers of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The original group included Alphonse Mouzon on drums and percussionist DomUm Romao. Weather Report, in essence, was a band that had three leaders and they had to figure out how to make it work. The group had a conventional lineup in terms of instrumentation, but used it in unconventional ways. The group abandoned traditional time keeping in favor of integrated group interaction. This often included modality or no conventional chord changes. Much of the music had no strict meter or traditional harmonic organization. There was much emphasis on the creation of color and texture. This was a band that fused together many different styles with non-traditional approaches.

Weather Report - Episode 1

CompositionArtist/LeaderAlbumYear
Cucumber SlumberWeather ReportMysterious Traveler1975
In a Silent WayJoe ZawinulZawinul1970
Swee-PeaWayne ShorterSuper Nova1970
Water BabiesWayne ShorterSuper Nova1970
Seventh ArrowWeather ReportWeather Report1971
Milky WayWeather ReportWeather Report1971

Weather Report - Episode 2

This podcast is a continuation of the music from their debut album Weather Report and the next album I Sing the Body Electric. On the 2nd album the focus changes a bit to a larger, more orchestral conception on the studio recordings. Half of the recording was done in the studio and the other half is from a live performance in Tokyo from 1972. The live performances capture the energy and improvisatory nature of the group. Zawinul also begins using a synthesizer on this recording which adds to his pallet of musical color.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Orange LadyWeather ReportWeather Report1971
EurydiceWeather ReportWeather Report1971
Unknown SoldierWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1971
MoorsWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1971
Second Sunday in AugustWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1971
Vertical InvaderWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1972
DirectionsWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1972

Weather Report - Episode 3

The album Sweetnighter marks a change in direction for the group. Zawinul wanted the music to be more accessible to larger audiences and consequently toned down the free form collective improvisation and focused more on structured compositions. Some of the tracks like “Boogie Woogie Waltz” and “125th Street Congress” have a strong rhythmic dance-like hook. To this end Zawinul brought in new a new drummer and bassist to augment the group. They did not completely abandon the free form pieces and there are some included on the album, but this record is certainly a turning point for the band. The next album, Mysterious Traveller, marked another change in personnel and musical focus. By this time it is apparent that Zawinul is charting the musical direction of the group. Zawinul’s interest in technology in terms of analog synthesizers and studio overdubbing become an important component of the music production.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Boogie Woogie WaltzWeather ReportSweetnighter1973
AdiosWeather ReportSweetnighter1973
Non-Stop HomeWeather ReportSweetnighter1973
Nubian SundanceWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974
Mysterious TravellerWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974

Weather Report - Episode 4

The album Black Market from 1975 marked another crossroad for the group; that was the 1st appearance of the bassist Jaco Pastorius in the band. His presence on all subsequent albums would again alter the sound and focus of the band. Pastorius, in addition to being an excellent composer, was an innovative bassist who has influenced generations of electric bassists.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Cucumber SlumberWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974
Jungle BookWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974
Black MarketWeather ReportBlack Market1975
ContinuumJaco PastoriusJaco1975
Portrait of TracyJaco PastoriusJaco1975
CannonballWeather ReportBlack Market1975

Weather Report - Episode 5

Heavy Weather, released in 1977, was by far their most popular, accessible, and successful album. The hit composition “Birdland” helped to make this their best-selling LP. The group underwent personnel changes again but the star trio of Shorter, Zawinul, and Pastorius would remain unchanged through the 1980’s. The addition of new compositions from Pastorius added a new dimension to the band. Listen to Jaco’s ability to make the bass sing on the track “A Remark You Made.”
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
BirdlandWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
A Remark You MadeWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
PalladiumWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
Teen TownWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
HavonaWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977