Friday, August 25, 2023

Weathering Heights: Wayne Shorter 90

Weather Report - Directions

Like I promised when he passed in March, we're gonna revisit one of the all-timers on what would have been his 90th birthday.

There's not much to say that hasn't already been said about someone of this caliber.

Here's something: when Tina Turner ran away from Ike and had nowhere to go and nothing to get there with, this guy took her into his home and helped her begin to fashion a career on her own.

We all know where he came from, that sick lineup of The Jazz Messengers with Lee Morgan alongside.

Then it was on to the Second Great Quintet of Miles Davis, at the bleeding edge of the music in the 1960s.

He began recording as a leader during this time, and produced several bedrock, pillar albums for the Blue Note label in the 2nd half of the decade.

As the Sixties ended and the fusion stuff came in, he conspired with another cat from Miles' electric band to create something totally unprecedented at the time.

It was at the start of 1971 that two groups hit that would essentially define Fusion for everyone else that would follow.

Both would cause audiences and fellow musicians alike to plumb lose their minds.
One was The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The other was called Weather Report, and was the brainchild of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, the latter of whom was born this day in 1933.

The two bands couldn't have been more different whilst playing the same basic style of music.

Mahavishnu was string based, with guitar and violin prominent.

Weather Report had no guitars at all but for the electric bass, and was woven primarily around Zawinul's multiple keyboards and synthesizers, and of course the horns of today's birthday boy.

WR went on for 15 years with varying personnel around Joe and Wayne, but here's a fine example of them that just so happens to have been taped 50 years ago tomorrow, during their Sweetnighter period.

Weather Report
Jazzfest Châteauvallon
Ollioules, France

01 percussion intro
02 Boogie Woogie Waltz
03 125th Street Congress
04 unidentified fragment
05 Sophisticated Lady
06 Early Minor
07 Directions
08 In a Silent Way
09 It's About That Time
10 band introductions
11 medley incl. 125th Street Congress [reprise] & Seventh Arrow [theme]

Total time: 1:27:36
disc break goes after Track 06

Wayne Shorter - saxophones
Joe Zawinul - keyboards
Miroslav Vitous - bass
Dom Um Romao - percussion
Greg Errico - drums 

digital capture of a 2022 France Musique rebroadcast
some missing bits patched (with an unknown-but-low gen FM cassette capture) 
and reassembled in (more or less!) the likely correct performance order by EN, August 2023
590 MB FLAC/direct link

I reoriented this one to include the bits not aired in the 2022 France Musique rebroadcast, whilst reordering the tunes to play, more or less, in the correct order as performed. The fragment bit was originally ahead of 125th Street Congress, but I thought the overall show flowed better with it after so that's what I did. If this is unacceptable, you're more than welcome to kill me.

I might do one more for August, or I might not, we'll see. But I thought it necessary to get your weekend working with more Wayne, with the forecast being for some very heavy Weather.--J.

8.25.1933 - 3.2.2023