Weather Report

Weather Report was an American jazz fusion band formed in 1970 by keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Known for their innovative sound, the band blended jazz with rock, funk, and world music, making a significant impact on the genre and leaving an enduring legacy in the music world.

Full disclosure, I love this band. Several of their albums drew the soundtrack of my life.

Timeline of Career Highlights

  1. 1970: Weather Report is formed by Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, and bassist Miroslav Vitouš. They quickly gain attention for their experimental approach to jazz.
  2. 1971: Release their self-titled debut album “Weather Report”, which is well-received and establishes them as a cutting-edge jazz group.
  3. 1973: Release “Sweetnighter”, featuring funkier grooves and more structured compositions, marking a shift in their musical direction.
  4. 1976: Album “Black Market” introduces Jaco Pastorius, whose virtuosic bass playing becomes a defining element of the band's sound.
  5. 1977: “Heavy Weather” is released, featuring the hit "Birdland," which becomes a jazz standard and their most commercially successful album.
  6. 1978: Release “Mr. Gone”, which, despite mixed reviews, further showcases their evolving sound.
  7. 1979: Double live album “8:30” wins a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance.
  8. 1980: Release “Night Passage”, maintaining their critical and commercial success.
  9. 1986: Weather Report disbands after releasing their final album “This is This!”.

Albums and Discography

1. Studio Albums

  1. “Weather Report” (1971)
  2. “I Sing the Body Electric” (1972)
  3. “Sweetnighter” (1973)
  4. “Mysterious Traveller” (1974)
  5. “Tale Spinnin'“ (1975)
  6. “Black Market” (1976)
  7. “Heavy Weather” (1977)
  8. “Mr. Gone” (1978)
  9. “8:30” (1979) - Live
  10. “Night Passage” (1980)
  11. “Weather Report” (1982)
  12. “Procession” (1983)
  13. “Domino Theory” (1984)
  14. “Sportin' Life” (1985)
  15. “This is This!” (1986)

2. Notable Singles

  1. "Birdland" (1977)
  2. "A Remark You Made" (1977)
  3. "Black Market" (1976)

Lineup

Founding Members~

  1. Joe Zawinul (keyboards)
  2. Wayne Shorter (saxophones)
  3. Miroslav Vitouš (bass)
  4. Notable Members~
  5. Jaco Pastorius (bass)
  6. Peter Erskine (drums)
  7. Alphonso Johnson (bass)
  8. Alex Acuña (drums)
  9. Manolo Badrena (percussion)

Grammy Awards

1979 Best Jazz Fusion Performance for “8:30”.

Famous Songs and Compositions

  1. "Birdland" (1977) - A jazz standard that remains one of their most famous pieces.
  2. "A Remark You Made" (1977) - A beautiful ballad showcasing the band's lyrical side.
  3. "Black Market" (1976) - Known for its infectious groove and complex rhythms.

Collaborations and Cover Versions

Weather Report collaborated with a variety of musicians throughout their career, particularly with percussionists and drummers who brought different rhythmic textures to their music.

"Birdland" has been covered by numerous artists, including The Manhattan Transfer, whose version won a Grammy.

Quotes

Joe Zawinul

We always solo, but we never solo.

Wayne Shorter

The idea was to contribute what you can to the possibilities of the band.

Gossip and Personal Anecdotes

Jaco Pastorius’ entry into the band brought not only immense talent but also some turbulence due to his unpredictable behavior, which was both a source of creativity and tension within the group.

Despite their innovative music, Weather Report experienced internal conflicts, particularly around creative directions and personal dynamics, which were a common aspect of their long career.

The band's breakup in 1986 was amicable, with members pursuing solo careers and other projects, leaving behind a legacy of groundbreaking music.

Weather Report remains a cornerstone in the world of jazz fusion. Their fearless experimentation, exceptional musicianship, and genre-defying compositions have influenced countless musicians and continue to inspire new generations.

Songs: Birdland, Black Market, This is This

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