Joe G

Weather Report: Black Market

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Weather Report - Black Market (click to buy)

Joe Zawinal says that he likes this album better than Heavy Weather. I feel the same way.

Black Market was one of my entries into the world of jazz music when I was 19 or so. Back then I had the lame cassette issue, with zero liner notes and poor sound quality. Just recently I picked up the remaster, and I have to say I still love this album, every track. And the cover is so cool! (Way better than Heavy Weather-that cover is hideous!)

B000066T3M.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

I'll have much more to say later, as this is just a heads up. Enjoy!

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In other news, per the write-in campaign initiated by AfricaBrass, I hereby nominate Rooster Ties to choose the AOTW May 4th. You da Man! :P

Edited by Joe G

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In other news, per the write-in campaign initiated by AfricaBrass, I hereby nominate RoosterTies for AOTW May 4th. You da Man! :P

Thanks Joe!

I've never heard this album. Time to do some shopping....

:D

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I love it when cheap-0 discs are nominated! This oughta be fun!

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I figure that quite a few people here will already have it, and if not, it's obviously easy to find. I just hope for a lively discussion! :rsmile:

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I figure that quite a few people here will already have it, and if not, it's obviously easy to find. I just hope for a lively discussion! :rsmile:

I bet we'll get a very lively discussion with this one.

I've never been a fan of fusion. I enjoy most of the electric Miles stuff before his retirement in 1975 and some McLaughlin, but I haven't gotten into much of the other fusion of the period. I enjoy Wayne Shorter during his period with Miles and his solo stuff up to the early seventies, beyond that, his music hasn't done a lot for me. I want to have my perceptions change. I know I've been narrowminded in the past and I'm trying to rectify that.

I'm sure we'll also have some lively discussions about Jaco. He really brought a new way of playing bass into the picture.

I am going to pick up this cd and listen with the most open mind I can possibly have. I really look forward to understanding this music. I look forward to learning about this album.

:rsmile:

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I am going to pick up this cd and listen with the most open mind I can possibly have. I really look forward to understanding this music. I look forward to learning about this album.

:rsmile:

I appreciate your willingness to be so open. I'm confident that you will be delighted with this album. Money back if you're not smiling after the first minute of the opening track. It always works for me! :D

The main reason fusion is a dirty word now days is because of the propensity of many bands to make the music all about virtuoso chops and not much else. Not so with Weather Report, though they had chops to spare. They wrote melodies that stick in your brain for days, as you will soon see.

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I used to totally LOVE Weather Report. Saw them about five times, on two coasts.

I've rebought this in the new remaster and it sounds great. But. . . I don't really get into WR any longer. "Tale Spinnin'" is the one I like the MOST. . . it's special. Must be the berimbau! :)

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This is one I definitely want to revisit.

Ditto. Picked this one up a while ago (maybe two years, I'm not sure), listened to it a few times but didn't find it particularly memorable. My perception of BLACK MARKET will probably change, though. A good choice for AOTW, Joe!

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I used to see Weather Report every time they came to Phoenix which was fairly frequently.Though I haven't listened to them much recently I still enjoy the group and I remember really enjoying "Black Market". I'll have to revisit "Tale Spinnin" too. I like the sound of the berimbau.

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Hey! We've been pinned! Cool. B)

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I just gave this one a listen while preparing the dinner and I must say I dug it a lot more this time around. But I won't say anything more 'cuz it's not 'officially' the begining of the allotted time period for this AOTW. Definitely looking forward to some closer listenings.....

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In anticipation of Black Market being album of the week, I picked up a new copy of Weather Report: The Jaco Years compilation on Sony for $2.60 yesterday (the local Wherehouse record store is blowing everything out at 80% off).

I still need to buy my copy of Black Market, but I'm getting into the right mood now.

:rsmile: :rhappy: :rsmile: :rhappy:

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Got my copy yesterday, and man oh man, tomorrow can't come soon enough!!! This was a wonderful surprise! :excited:

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I picked up my copy tonight. :D

I've read the liner notes but have kept myself from listening to it until tomorrow (Sunday).

I'm really looking forward to it.

:rsmile: :rhappy: :rsmile:

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This is a GREAT record, and, with the exception of the solo sections on "Herandu", "fusion" only in the sense that "Tone Parallel To Harlem" is "jazz" - by the default of not having anything better to call it. It might be in the same ballpark, but it's definitely playing a different game, and by different rules at that. In fact, the comparison to Ellington is not at all far-fetched for this album, I believe. There is an attention to things like color, texture, integration of improvisation w/composed material/backgrounds, the emphasizing of INDIVIDUAL tonal pallates, and the creation of "sound portraits" that is very, VERY Eliingtonian. Plus, in "Elegant People", we get served one of Wayne Shorter's most evocative compositions ever (and if all you remember is the "main theme", you're missing more than half the piece!). There's not a dull or cliched moment on the entire disc. (Whatever "cliches" one might hear today are a result of numerous borrowings and trivializations by lesser talents over the years, not unlike the hearing of 20s jazz today as "cartoon music").

To me, this album is a landmark of how the spirit and feel of "jazz" (and to me, it is the spirit and feel of ANY music that ultimately define it moreso than any specific musical "devices") can be organically used in an environment of electronic instruments and "contemporary" rhythms, not by artificial grafting or pseudo-intellectual compositional/conceptual techniques, but rather by having an intuitive, natural FEEL for contemporary times and the people who make those times, and the instincts and skills to translate all that into a music that at once reflects and defines those people and their times. I've been very, VERY hardened and turned off by "fusion" for a very, VERY long time now, but WR is one of the handful of groups whose work continues to reveal new layers of substance and implications as the years go by, and this is probably my favorite of their many albums (and I like ALL of them in some form or fashion).

Look for albums of "electric jazz", "fusion", or any other similar "category" that SWING as much as this one does, that has such uniquely personal and readily identifiable lead voices, that blend the cerebial and the physical so effortlessly and so wholly, and that have such subtly well-crafted and DISTINCTIVE compositions, and it will most likely result in an incredibly short list. If BLACK MARKET does not top the list, it will surely be on it, and towards the top at that. For that matter, I'd rate it as one of the major albums of the 70s, period, categories be damned, such is its breadth of scope and success in doing what it sets out to do.

Weather Report was always interesting, but not always consistent or successful, especially in the Jaco-and-beyond years. On this album, however, it all came together, fully and spectacularly,and the passage of time has done nothing to dissuade me of this.

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I've listened to the album twice today. I plan on playing it all week.

I've never really given Weather Report a chance. I got into jazz in the late 80's, long after the excesses of jazz fusion had given the genre a bad name to some. The Weather Report that I originally heard was from the end of the group, not when they were in their prime, as they are on this album. I had enjoyed Jaco Pastorius' playing on the Joni Mitchell album "Hejira" (which is still my favorite performance of him). But I had first heard Weather Report after Jaco had been killed, and I had read about his strange behaivor, so it was long after he had been so innovative. As far as Shorter, I had given up on him after his last Blue Note albums, and Zawinul had only come to my attention through his work with the Adderley's.

So this was new territory for me.

I have to say that I really like this album!

I have to say that JSngry's post really hits the nail on the head. As I listened to the album (especially the Wayne Shorter compositions), I kept imagining them played with traditional instruments. I agree that is truly is jazz played with different instruments, and it really does have the spirit.

I have never been a big fan of synthesizers in jazz, but whatever keyboards Zawinul played on this album sound very cool. I'm a big fan of early seventies German synthesizer music and it seems that Zawinul must have been listening to this stuff also.

I've also enjoyed Wayne Shorter on this album. Soprano sax has been ruined for me by cats like Kenny G, etc..., but Shorter really is on fire in places. It's making me re-evaluate my narrow minded view of the instrument.

I know that one of the big deals about this album is the appearance of Jaco. I have to admit that my favorite bass playing on this album is by Alphonso Johnson. Especially on the title track.

I'm also digging the drums and percussion. In reading the liners, I see that the drummer, Chester Thompson came from Zappa's band. When I hear this album, I get a Zappa feel in places. I also really like the percussion.

I really look forward to digging deeper into this music. This week's choice really is what the Album of the Week is about to me. It's about expanded my jazz listening by discovering and really getting to know great pieces of work that I hadn't given my attention too. One thing I really like about hanging around this board is that it has helped me in opening myself up, and not being as narrow-minded about music as I have been in the past.

Great choice, Joe!

:rsmile: :D :rsmile: :D :rsmile:

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I know that one of the big deals about this album is the appearance of Jaco. I have to admit that my favorite bass playing on this album is by Alphonso Johnson. Especially on the title track.

Since I have the older re-issue of this album I didn't realize that Alphonso Johnson plays on the album (due to both a superficial knowledge of the differences between Alphonso and Jaco's playing, as well as there being no liner notes whatsoever, or even a notation of the musicians who play on the album; the only thing besides the cover image is a picture of the group behind a massive amount of food). Could someone tell me which bassist plays on each tune?

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pryan,

The liner notes on my cd say that Jaco only plays on Cannon Ball and Barbary Coast. Johnson is on all the other tracks.

:rsmile:

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I guess my ears didn't betray me; listened to the album again after posting earlier on and came a conclusion that mirrors your response, AfricaBrass. Thanks for confirming my thoughts, though.

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So nice to hear from JSngry! I can only concur with his assesment, especially on the point of how organically integrated the electronics are on this album. In the hands of such masters, electronic instruments become simply another tool in the realization of their vision.

Jim had another good point mentioning the SPIRIT of this album. It is so infectious! It is, at the same time, a deeply informed (and informative) transmission of the era. In that regard it makes me think of the space probe that was sent out with the music of Bach. Black Market just really speaks to me of that particular time and place in which it was conceived, though I was very young at the time of its' release.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, this was one of the first "jazz" albums I bought when I finally tired of hard rock/metal in the late 80's. So naturally, I was intitially drawn to Gibraltar and Herandu. In fact, it was the solo section of Herandu that really sparked my imagination, as I pictured myself being able to play lines like Zawinal played, and more importantly, being in a group that could play a groove like that! I liked most of the other tunes, just not as much. Now I enjoy the whole album immensely.

AfricaBrass mentioned the Zappa feel, and that is strongest on Gibraltar by far. That is such a killer track.

Pryan, I would strongly recommend getting the latest remaster if you are at all inclined. It's a big improvement all around.

More later.

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About Jaco and Alphonso, I think my favorite moment from Jaco is also the quietest. It's the very end of Cannon Ball, just a two chord phrase that repeats, but it's a beautiful ending to the tune. Otherwise if I need a Jaco fix, I'll go to Heavy Weather and listen to Havona and Teen Town (or Metheny's Bright Size Life. I haven't heard that Joni album). You're right AfricaBrass, Alphonso is the man on Black Market. Nice tone and great feel. I can't even say "especially on..." because I'd have to name every tune on the album that he plays. If I was an electric bassist I would have learned every song note for note, as I'm sure many have.

Has anyone else read the Jaco biography written by Bill Milkowski? It's a sad story of course, but an interesting read.

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Joe,

I dig when Jaco does those chords. I've been a big fan of his playing on Joni Mitchell's Hejira for a long time.

I've only read passages from the Jaco book. What I read was really interesting (and sad).

One thing I've noticed about this album is that (to me) it's much better on headphones. My first few listens were with headphones and this morning, I listened to it in the car. I felt like I was missing so much. There are so many subtle things to get into when you're wearing headphones.

:rsmile:

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It might seem like Jurassic-Era lore to the younger folk, but the impact that the introduction of polyphonic synthesizers made on Zawinul can not be understated. They gave him the liberty to create textures that were orchestral in density yet had timbres unlike any orchestra was capable of producing (although there's a few years later, on WR's version of "Rockin' In Rhythm", where, just for a moment, you SWEAR you're hearing the Ellington brass section doing a sustained trill). Zawinul, always one to think big, took this ball and ran like hell with it in a way that very few others did. You here this liberated imagination all over BLACK MARKET, as what was once an already exploratory quintet suddenly blossoms into a Technicolor Electric Orchestra of seemingly unlimited range. Maybe the impact is lost on those who come to the album after the fact, but as one who heard it when it was new, I can tell you that the textures and colors were very refreshing, startling even. "Newness" aside, though, the point is that much of BLACK MARKET (and beyond) could easily be transcribed for traditional big band/orchestra, but the results would pale in comparison. Just the other day I heard some new big band doing a chart on "Teen Town" (as a TUBA feature no less!), and the arranger got the voicings right, but it sounded old and tired. Zawinul's and Shorter's pieces for Weather Report from BLACK MARKET on were indeed frequently orchestral in intent, but it's worth noting that the synths were not used to mimic a traditional orchestra in any form or fashion - they WERE the orchestra, and that is no small point (or feat).

Along those lines, and to pick a nit, I've read several references to the "train sound" on the opening cut. Well, that train sound was/is indeed memorable (and was reproduced live to even greater effect), but it's on "Barbary Coast", track 6. The album itself opens with the sounds of a crowd, the main voice vaugely reminiscent of the wacky female who shouts out "Perfidia" on one of the old Panart "Cuban Jam Session" albums from the 50s (sorry if that reference is Dennis Miller-esque in its obscurity). The thing is, though, that's NOT human speech - it's entirely synthisized, as are, I believe, all the other "sound effects" on the album. Zawinul was very enthusiastic about the potential of all this this in a Down Beat interview of the time, as he was about the whole possibilities of the then-fairly-new polyphonic (and, I think, FM) technology. I'm not enough of a synth geek to give you the chronology, but I seem to remember that BLACK MARKET followed in the footsteps of the introduction of a major synth breakthrough - the Oberheim perhaps? Whatever, the album to me is full of the beautifully wacky imagination of a man (a band for that matter) in the first thrall of FINALLY being able to get the sounds that he/they had been hearing but souldn't quite heretofore get a handle on, and that giddy rush remains contageous to this day.

But then again, maybe you had to be there...

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