I’m waiting for Elton to write this one up. He is more into jazz than I will ever be. All I can tell you is that this is a great song performed by a great jazz fusion group at their peak. Jaco Pastorius was still with them. He gave the band its bass, its heavier than heavy, funkier than funky sound.
Intelligent thoughts from my good friend Elton:
Sorry for the delay, just got off a few nights on call. You picked one of the few “jazz fusion” groups I’ve studied and tried to play. Here’s a few comments off the top of my head:
- Jaco Pastorius got such a distinctive sound from his bass because it didn’t have any frets so he could slide his hand up and down the neck without the bumps. He bought it used and liked the sound.
- Jaco was an alcoholic, manic-depressive who was killed by a bouncer in a bar fight. Amazing how many jazz greats (and musicians in general) were big time substance abusers.
- DownBeat is the most well-respected jazz magazine out there, and Weather Report is the only artist to win album of the year four years in a row. Birdland is on the album Heavy Weather which was the fourth in that string.
- Nice clip – it looks like it’s from that old “Rock Concert” show that came on Friday nights when I was a teenager. Weather Report was one of the few jazz groups to appear on that show.
- Wayne Shorter made his name in one of Miles Davis’ bands and was one of the founding members of Weather Report along with a keyboard guy whose name I’d have to look up. Shorter is still going strong today – check out his albums alegria and footprints live from a few years ago.
- One of the jazz games I play is “Six Degrees to Louis,” I think this is the trail through Weather Report: Wayne Shorter→Miles Davis→Charlie Parker→Lester Young→Louis Armstrong. Remember, everything in jazz started with Louis, actually everything in all music since 1920 started with Louis, but that’s another blog altogether!