JJ 06/82: Weather Report: Weather Report

Forty years ago Barry McRae thought Weather Report might just introduce hard-nosed jazzers like him to the broader crossover scene. First published in Jazz Journal June 1982


As a personal prejudice, I prefer Weather Report on record, because their volume is controlled by me. Heard live, the group is sometimes just too loud and on these occasions solos like Shorter’s fine effort on Current Affairs get swamped.

Zawinul usually fares better because of his own amplification but despite all the claims made about modern sound men, WR concerts seem to suffer from bad balancing.

This is the best record by the group for some time. It has rhythmic verve, melodic variety, the usual range of impressive sound voicings, as well as solos by Shorter, Zawinul and Pastorius that fit the style to perfection. The call and response tradition of early jazz is evoked on Dara Factor One and perhaps more than any other track it reminds that the two leading lights in the group paid their dues in pre-fusion days. Weather Report remains the best band of its type in the world and to reverse the cliché, they might just introduce hard-nosed jazzers like this writer to the broader crossover scene.

They have always changed personnel with regularity, and it is because of this that I have guessed at 1981 as the recording date. This record was cut at three different sessions but these were the men I saw in the line-up for the 1981 New York Kool Festival.

Volcano For Hire; Current Affairs; NYC (21.30) – Dara Factor One; When It Was Now; Speechless; Dara Factor Two (20.30)
Wayne Shorter (ts/ss); Joe Zawinul (key/p); Jaco Pastorius (elb/pc/v); Peter Erskine (d/pc); Robert Thomas Jnr (pc). New York, Pasadena, Los Angeles, circa 1981.
(CBS 85326)