Weather Report: Heavy Weather: 1977
I came to this album late, it was 1982 when I picked a copy up at the local Scarborough record store & noticed that the bass player was a certain Jaco Pastorius. I had heard Jaco’s playing on an Ian Hunter solo album “All American Alien Boy”. It made an impression on me, to the extent that I bought this on the strength of his name alone.
The album was duly snatched up & taken home for consumption. I was not disappointed with what I heard & to this day, the track “In a silent way “remains in my top 5 great tracks. The sound was so unfashionable for the music around in the UK at that time, but something I heard in that music told me it was going to be timeless.
Tracks such as Birdland & Teen town demonstrated to me that music does not have to be built in blocks but can have curves, it can have more than one route, it can flow rather than be constrained. All that limits the possibilities are the abilities & the imaginations of the creators.
More albums were eagerly snapped up as they appeared but this remains my favourite. It also started me down a road of listening to Miles, Coltrane & later Courtney Pine...
The line up of Zawinul, Shorter,Pastorius & Erskine remains for me the classic Weather Report line up, although that is not to say the subsequent members possessed no ability, far from it. That the band provided for me in the 80’s some musical foundation & tore down a few preconceived musical walls was enough.
It was enough to draw me away from my home studio & begin playing live again until I emigrated to New Zealand. Although we played a more traditional style of rock music, we never shied away from improvisation or completely turning the arrangement of a song on it’s ear.