Jazz supergroup Weather Report were at the forefront of the fusion movement in the 1970s and early ‘80s with their groundbreaking blend of jazz, rock and funk. The Joe Zawinul-founded collective reached their creative zenith between 1978-1981, when their concert performance become the stuff of modern jazz legend.
That fertile period is chronicled on the new boxed set “The Legendary Live Tapes: 1978-1981.” The 28-track, set includes more than four hours of music spread out over four discs. It’s a must for fans of Weather Report and anyone who loves jazz.
This period featured the classic Weather Report lineup of Zawinul (keyboards), Wayne Shorter (saxophone), Jaco Pastorius (electric bass), Peter Erskine (drums) and Robert Thomas Jr. (hand drums). The chemistry between the musicians is evident throughout “The Legendary Tapes” and makes this a compelling — if lengthy — set from beginning to end.
Among the many highlights here are renditions of “Sightseeing,” “Brown Street,” “Three Views of a Secret,” “Badia/Boogie Waltz,” “Birdland,” “A Remark You Made,” “Gibraltar,” “Madagascar,” “Night Passage,” “Rockin; in Rhythm,” “Elegant People,” “Black Market” and “Directions.” Good stuff. (Jeffrey Sisk)