Heavy Weather review by Weather Report

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1977
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (8 votes)
Weather Report: Heavy Weather

Sound — 10
For a late 70's album, this release by fusion band 'Weather Report' is easily one of if not the best of it's time. If you want to hear the best bass tones, listen here, if you want great guitar tones, listen here. Listening to this is like a 30 minute masterclass. True musicianship on every part. The overall sound of the band however on tracks such as 'Teen Town' do fall into the cliche '70s sound but this is fusion dude, you expect that sort of thing. The quality of the playing is remarkable as can be heard on the opening track 'Birdland'.

Lyrics — 9
There is very little vocal work on here with the exception of 'Rumba Mama'. Apparently the song 'A Remark You Made' was based on a poem. Just by that you can see the band's thinking. They are obviously trying to make music as powerful as words, no easy task but I've never heard it done so well by anyone later than them. This is a good exercise if you are in a creative mood!

Overall Impression — 7
So, what to mark it down on? Well, my initial issue with it is that it is far too short. Just under forty minutes, I have to play it over again. It's the sort of thing you can listen to anywhere at anytime but totalling something like 37 minutes isn't what I think of an album as! Also, I feel that the group have used a little too many electronic instruments like keyboards and can I hear the odd bit of sequencing? Overall, any bassist wanting to get into 'Jaco' will fall in love with his talent after hearing this. The bass work is exceptional. Here is an overview of the eight tracks: 01. Birdland - easily the best on the album. Wonderful instrument tones as well as nice flowing melodies following the chords. 02. A Remark You Made - again, absolutely genius. Great Sax work the sounds a lot like Michael Brecker. 03. Teen Town - the second shortest on the album. The bass work is out of this world. The 'rock-iest' on the album also. 04. Harlequin - more lovely bass work. Slides and sparse phrasing add to the atmosphere of the piece. The use of dynamics is mind blowing! 05. Rumba Mama - this appears to be a live performance, sporting fantastic drum work and Southern American vocals. 06. Palladium - like 'Teen Town', there is a lot of keyboard work happening with a rocky edge. They seem to pull it off however. 07. The Juggler - an interesting piece. Providing you look at it from a musicians point of view, this is a goldmine of information for all players. 08. Havona - what a closer! Gotta be the drummers favourite! A little 'space-agey' but again I can't fault the bass work from Mr. Pastorius.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Yeah great album. Like you said the whole band's sound may sound cliched, but I think that was wholly intentional. Its either this or Black Market for me among all of WR's albums. Jaco and Joe are in top form(of course none of the band members disappoint). Birdland is my favourite. That synth passage with Jaco's 'bass'y harmonics.....
    Well said. I have to say i also like 'Birland' the best. It's so catchy yet not to simple! Gotta love the live version of 'A Remark You Made', which is not on this album.
    This has got to be one of the biggest landmark albums of fusion - the whole band is just awesome! But Jaco really opened a completely new level of what you could do on a bass, and on a fretless no less. Besides Percy Jones, he's the only dude I've heard using pinch harmonics for a melody line.
    There's only one problem with this review...There's no guitar on the album! It's only bass! and, personally, I'm not a big fan of the sound on this record, there's cool stuff, but I feel like's it's mixed all at one level, for the most part. It's not raw enough for my tastes and a little too over-processed. The fusion group that I really dig from the 70s has to be the Mahavishnu Orchestra.