Music » CD Reviews

Weather Report

Forecast: Tomorrow (Columbia/Legacy)

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There has been only a handful of continuous bands in jazz history. Those few, including Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the Dave Brubeck Quartet, came to define the post-bebop eras of the '50s and '60s. The avant-garde and fusion eras also had their defining supergroup -- Weather Report. From 1970 to 1985, master saxophonist Wayne Shorter and keyboard whiz Joe Zawinul led a number of quintets, integrating countless aspects of jazz, progressive rock, funk, electronics, and world-music strains into a unique design.

Forecast: Tomorrow is a three-CD set documenting Weather Report's development. The band could swing mightily ("Directions," with echoes of electric Miles Davis), weave cinematically ominous soundscapes ("Unknown Soldier," anticipating Goth and the 4AD sound), forge giddy, merry melodies ("Birdland"), and show incredible prescience (the surreal ethno-electronica of 1975's "Badia"). Forecast includes plenty of enticing bonuses -- two unreleased tracks, a remix (DJ Logic), a two-hour DVD of live performances, and key tracks by Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley, delineating Weather Report's roots. Forecast is a touchstone for electric jazz's past and future.

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