Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Weather Report Rockpalast, Offenbach 1978 (Made In Germany Musi 2016)

By September of 1978 Weather Report's headlining status afforded them the opportunity to play a very long set amounting to two hours in length. Given the previous year's success with the poll winning Heavy Weather album one might have expected them to concentrate on this more or less exclusively, but instead, fans were treated to material from right across the bands career and solo spots by everybody. Black Market opens this concert and straight away it's apparent that the energy level is high and the relaxed pace of the studio version has been superseded by a slightly faster tempo. An explosive tenor and drum duet by Shorter and Erskine also forms part of this and must have surely put an end to the feeling in some quarters at the time that the saxophonist was no longer at his best. Also on board were flamboyant electric bassist Jaco Pastorius, a genuine innovator, and newly arrived drummer Peter Erskine a master technician brought into the group to add more of a jazz feel. Joe Zawinul was keen to stress that Weather Reports music was their music, a product of the group's identity, and not simply jazz-rock akin to that of many bands of the time. Although he was known for his strong opinions it's clear that no other group mixed improvisation, formal structures and electronics quite like them. One night in Germany is clear proof of this.