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CJ Shearn

Review of Miroslav Vitous "Music of Weather Report"

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Really nice album, will be in my best of 2016. http://bit.ly/29vCWGq   Some of my reviews will also be featured at Jazz Views UK, very happy about that!

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" Recorded March and May 2010, February and March 2011 " - I wonder why it took so long to get it released. Oh, what Weather Report could have been with Vitous as leader and Zawinul leaving ....

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Didn't realize there were two of these: Remembering and Music of. May have to get both...

Bertrand.

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Remembering WR is oddly non-WR-like.

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16 hours ago, mikeweil said:

Oh, what Weather Report could have been with Vitous as leader and Zawinul leaving ....

Boring, bland, and Wayne-less, perhaps?

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No, it's a good record, but it doesn't utilize the forms nor is it as explorative as WR. it's a more straight-ahead record. It doesn't sound like WR at all to me. I haven't yet heard "Music of Weather Report," but my best friend says it is fantastic!

Edited by jazzbo

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Yes Lon, your friend is right.  As I said in the review, the pieces Vitous reimagines that he did not play on originally are among the most intriguing.

8 hours ago, Carl Baugher said:

Nice review. Good album.

Thanks!

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Sounds like I should get Music Of and skip Remembering, at least for now.

Bertrand.

Dang, Cleaver and Waits play TOGETHER! Sold.

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5 hours ago, JSngry said:

Boring, bland, and Wayne-less, perhaps?

Wayne-less and likely compositionally challenged, for sure.  I loved Vitous' and Eric Gravatt's work with the group, but it wouldn't have been Weather Report without Zawinul, it would have been something very different and likely very less, as evidenced by his work as a leader later in the decade.

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Not sure about Shorter - it would have been leaning more towards free-form playing at which he was great but which was not Zawinul's bag. There were times when Shorter was almost "Mr. Gone" on stage - remember Jack DeJohnette's tune "Where or Wayne"? For my taste, Zawinul was dominating the band too much. Well I_m more a fan of Vitous than of Zawinul ...

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I think the live recordings pretty much dispel the image of Disappearing Wayne that the studio albums helped create (in part because the supposed dynamic was that less=less and that less to the point of pain is actually painful, like oh, I haven't eaten since sunrise, now here it is dark, gosh, I'm STARVING!)

And I really don't see Wayne being a co-leader, much lrss a sideman in a Vitous band for 15+ years. Whatever one thinks of Zawinul, his personality/ego/whatever engaged Wayne's in a way that few could. There was a respect there, a deep respect. They both thought BIG, and if Zawinul was more of an external actor about that, hey, Wayne. Because Wayne.

Miroslav,  great talent, then and now, but he was not crazy like Joe and Wayne. Wayne and Joe were, like, hey, what if? And Miroslav was finally like, well, ok, that's not for me, and Joe and Wayne said, well, I suppose you're right, it's not. Miroslav didn't push back enough to move them so he got moved instead and that was that.

Weather Report could have splintered and  blown itself up long before it finally just...sighed away. If Wayne was feeling Miroslav THAT strongly, and vice-versa,...but no, that didn't happen.

I mean, hell - Jaco could not get ahead of Wayne, and Jaco brought crazy to that band like no sideman did before or since. Wayne is gonzo,  then, now, forever. Joe was too.Miroslav, not gonzo,  sorry.

Personalities matter when you're talking about a band staying together. You can have love, you can have hate, whatever, but respect is glue. That other stuff is just paper.

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Really enjoyed this. I was never much of a Weather Report fan at the time - heard the funkier things from the mid-70s before the earlier music (and duly dismissed alongside most American fusion of the time [not a criticism of that music, just not what I wanted to hear then]) and only came round to the band about ten years back.

Excellent review by the original poster - like with the previous Vitous album I like the way this one smudges the musical lines and hits the melodies at odd angles. The version of 'Birdland' is a marvellous re-imagining.   

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Ok, have only listenend to the Birdland Variation, and honestly find it kind of creepy, sort of a "here's how the hit would have sounded if I had stayed in the band and we never changed" thing, which is such a....Wynton-ish thing to do...creepy.

I mean, what is the point of this, to wait until Zawinul has been dead for this long to finally push back? It's taken this long? See, that might be why he got moved out in the first place , Joe & Wayne were ready to GO and this guy was all can't we just be moody all the time?

"Birdland" would not have happened if WR continued making endless sequels to I Sing The Body Electric...they'd have ended up on ECM making records like this.

Something oddly Pete Best-ish about this, maybe. Or Brian Wilson finally finished SMILE away from The Beach Boys,  Miroslav Vitous finally gets to lead Weather Report and turn it into an ECM band.

I'll listen to the rest of the record, but, you know, Miroslav after Weather Report, follow that career, read the interviews over the decades, that was not a clean break for him, nor was it quickly or easily processed.

To hear him tell it himself, Steve Kuhn had a similar type thing about being dropped by Trane, but he got over it, right? And now he's on ECM too!

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I once read an interview with John Surman where he did not have a good word to say about Vitous as a boss. And Surman is always the gentleman in his interviews. 

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On 7/16/2016 at 0:22 PM, A Lark Ascending said:

I once read an interview with John Surman where he did not have a good word to say about Vitous as a boss. And Surman is always the gentleman in his interviews. 

I've read that too. But I still like those records Vitous & Surman made together -- at least the first two: First Meeting and Mirslav Vitous Group. (I've never heard the third.)

On First Meeting, Surman plays mostly soprano (and a bit of bass clarinet; no bari sax); it's that record that's always made me think, "This is Vitous' attempt at re-doing Weather Report."  And I've gotta say that it really works for me in an alternate universe-ish sort of way. I should say that Vitous never comes out and says, "This is what we could have sounded like." It's just my own conjecture, imaginings.

I haven't heard the new ECM, by the way.

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2 hours ago, HutchFan said:

I've read that too. But I still like those records Vitous & Surman made together -- at least the first two: First Meeting and Mirslav Vitous Group. (I've never heard the third.)

On First Meeting, Surman plays mostly soprano (and a bit of bass clarinet; no bari sax); it's that record that's always made me think, "This is Vitous' attempt at re-doing Weather Report."  And I've gotta say that it really works for me in an alternate universe-ish sort of way. I should say that Vitous never comes out and says, "This is what we could have sounded like." It's just my own conjecture, imaginings.

I haven't heard the new ECM, by the way.

I seem to recall Surman was put off by what he saw as Vitous' egotism. 

Regardless, I've enjoyed the discs he's made, especially 'Journey's End' with Surman and Taylor. Has a glorious version of Surman's 'Tess', a track that over the years has found its way onto various mix tapes and playlists I've made for the car. 

Give the new one a listen - I like it.  

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5 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

Regardless, I've enjoyed the discs he's made, especially 'Journey's End' with Surman and Taylor. Has a glorious version of Surman's 'Tess', a track that over the years has found its way onto various mix tapes and playlists I've made for the car. 

Hmm. I guess I should track that one down too. ;) 

 

5 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

Give the new one a listen - I like it.  

Will do. I'm sure I'll get 'round to it eventually.

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On 7/16/2016 at 10:11 AM, JSngry said:

Or Brian Wilson finally finished SMILE away from The Beach Boys,  

Appreciate everything and agree with much of what you have to say about WR/Vitous.  But on this oddball little throwaway point, I have to say that I LOVE the group Brian Wilson worked with around the time of completing 'Smile'.  Darian Sahanaja is brilliant in his work with Wilson (and his other group, the Wondermints, are pretty great), and the other members really "get" the music.  'Pet Sounds' and 'Smile' never had much to do with the Beach Boys apart from Wilson anyways, except as supplemental vocalists, and Sahanaia, Jeffrey Foskett, Scott Bennett, and Taylor Mills are stunning in their vocalizing with (and for) Wilson on the completed 'Smile'.  The whole thing is a major miracle, both that it got done at all, and that it is as great as it is (especially the second movement).  And one of the all-time great human redemption stories.  No regrets here about it.  I miss the idea (though not the 2004 reality) of Carl Wilson singing on it, but not of Mike Love, who hated it anyways.

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Love it too, definitely. Just saying that it happened way after when it was supposed to. Might even say that it took that long because nobody involved had what it took at the time to get it done right, not a condemation, just a sympathetic observation. Psychic health and musical maturity...reach possibly exceeded grasp by juuuuuuust that much, at that time.

And fullest credit to Van Duke Parks for sensing that the time was right when ir was and then making sure that thee clock kept ticking. That's one quirky motherfucker,  but God bless hin afaic.

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Have not heard the new CD yet so have to reserve judgement but I enjoyed Miroslav's  "Remembering Weather Report" (2009), freshly made in a "we-always-solo-we-never-solo" aesthetic with a band that has personality. Perhaps significantly in light of the discussion above, the earlier record has no Weather Report "covers," though one song is based on a fragment of Wayne's "Nefertiti."

Edited by Mark Stryker

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