Monday, September 19, 2011

Weather Report - Live in Offenbach 1978

Historical live Rockpalast concert released.
No other group mixed improvisation, formal structures and electronics quite like them (Iain Murray in the liner notes)
Hans Koert

During the 1970s and 1980s I was fascinated, according to my concert log, by the music of traditional jazz bands like the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Toots Thielemans, Tete Montoliu, the Portena Jazz Band and Art Blakey, to list some. Music like jazz-rock fusion as played by Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report didn't had my interest yet - I didn't like the electronic stuff, screaming electric guitars and poppy rhythms. Now, 40 years later, a senior now, the music of this period, like Miles Davis Bitches Brew, has broadened my view and enriched my musical taste. One of the bands I discovered a few years ago was Weather Report. Recently a live 2cd album and a dvd, released by Art of Groove of a legendary Weather Report concert, entitled Weather Report - Live in Offenbach 1978 came to my desk, which renewed the acquaintance both in sound and light.

Weather Report - Live in Offenbach 1978 ( Rockpalast MIG 80092 2CD / DVD) (photo courtsy: Manfred Becker)
Weather Report was founded in 1970 by the Austrian keyboard player Joe Zawinul, who passed away four years ago, 75 years old and reed player Wayne Shorter, who both had played in Miles Davis' band, to be heard in albums like Bitches Brew and In A Silent Way. Up to 1986, the band lasted sixteen years, the personnel changed several times, but both Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter were the solid factor in the band. A few years before this live recording, the band got some important new members, like drummer Peter Erskine and bass guitar player Jaco Pastorius. Especially the latter gave Weather Report its more jazzy drive, which I missed in the early recordings. In 1978 Weather Report had reached its peak of popularity and it toured all around the world. It's remarkable to learn that two major tours were scheduled in that year along the Far East (Japan and Australia) and Europe ( Sweden, Germany, England, France, Belgium and Denmark) and, during the last month of 1978, more then three dozen concerts all around the States, almost a mug's game by this extreme popular band of the moment. The concert in Offenbach (Germany) was scheduled on the 29th of September 1978 at the Stadthalle and featured Joe Zawinul at the keyboards, Wayne Shorter on sax, Jaco Pastorius at the electric bass and Peter Erskine on drums. The concert was broadcasted complete by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln (WDR). This concert is now available on a DVD and a 2CD audio album: 138 minutes boiling live music by Weather Report.
It’s hard to tell what part I like much, but of course Joe Zawinul's In A Silent Way, which was also recorded by Miles Davis at the album with the same name, fascinated me and the Weather Report hit, Birdland, which was a hit, originally released at the Weather Report album Heavy Weather (1977).

Enjoy a fragment from this great concert with Joe Zawinul's famous composition and hit Birdland as played in the Offenbach Stadthalle.
Fred & Jack, a composition by Peter Erskine, impressed, thanks to Peter's stunning drum solo and in Teen Town, a Pastorius tune, bass player Jaco Pastorius shows what a great bass player he is.
Weather Report: f.l.t.r.: Jaco Patorius, Peter Erskine, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter (late 1970s)
It is remarkable to learn
that this great band played, as far as I know, but once in Holland as a six piece band at the 1984 North Sea Jazz Festival, two years before the band was broken, featuring Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Victor Bailey, Omar Hakim and Mino Cinelu. Jaco Pastorius left the group in 1981 and, mid 1980s, he even left the music scene, washed out with a serious burnout, and was killed at a fight in the Midnight Bottle Club in Wilton Manors September 1987. Both Peter Erskine and Wayne Shorter are still active in jazz.
Jaco Pastorius ( 1951-1987) (photo courtesy: Manfred Becker) (source: Weather Report: Live in Offenbach 1978)
This Weather Report Offenbach release ( MIG 80092 2CD) is unique as it is the first complete Weather Report live recording ever released. The only known live album by Weather Report 8:30, recorded at several concert halls, like at the Carl Marx Theatre in Havanna, Cuba and at Long Beach, California had some studio recordings added. Another extra is that this entirely concert is also available on a DVD album, also entitled Weather report - Live in Offenbach 1978 ( MIG 80097 DVD). A must have for all Weather Report fans.
Hans Koert
Weather Report must have been one of the most important Jazz-Rock groups from the 1970s, founded by his two major instrumentalists Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter 40 years ago. Late 1970s Weather Report was at the very height of its success and featured, except Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, guitar legend Jaco Pastorius and drummer Peter Erskine. In September - October 1978 they toured along Europe and were scheduled for a dozen concerts; the live concert at the Stadthalle in Offenbach was recorded and is now available on a 2cd album and a DVD, which offers this complete concert. A must-have for all Weather Report fans. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of historical concerts. If you love to be the first one to know, follow the Keep Swinging blog at Twitter (#keepswinging) or ask for its free newsletter, available in the English of Dutch language. Contact for registration:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are enjoying this, I recommend also the German release "Live in Berlin 1975," which is excellent. Personally I prefer that version of the band to the later ones, but I enjoy all of the line-ups.

9:16 PM  

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