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Weather Report

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(1970 – 1986)

Weather Report was an influential band of the 1970s and 1980s, one of the bands that defined the genre. Their initial style was collectively improvised with a strong rhythmic pulse and influences; moving into more -oriented rhythms. The sound also developed from an acoustic lineup to increasingly synthesised textures as keyboardist Joe Zawinul embraced successive generations of technology.

The band was founded in 1970 by Joe Zawinul (keyboards) and Wayne Shorter (saxophones) following their experiences in Miles Davis’s pioneering electric band of the late 60s, although they had been friends for a decade before this. Zawinul and Shorter were the only permanent members: other musicians included bassists Miroslav Vitous, Alphonso Johnson, Jaco Pastorius and Victor Bailey; drummers Alphonse Mouzon, Eric Gravatt, Chester Thompson, Peter Erskine and Omar Hakim; and percussionists Airto Moreira, Alex Acuña and Manolo Badrena; with numerous other collaborators and guests.

Weather Report’s earliest releases owe a clear debt to Miles Davis’s late 60s electric style, but by the release of Mysterious Traveller in 1974, the group had arrived at a style of its own: several of the tracks depend upon propulsive rhythmic figures, with solos more explorative of mood than technical ‘excellence’. In this respect they were always more artistically ambitious than the majority of other jazz fusion artists.

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