Albums with Josef Zawinul

The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981

Weather Report: The Legendary Live Tapes: 1978-1981 is a monumental 4 disc boxed set of previously unreleased live concert performances from the groundbreaking electronic jazz-rock-funk ensemble whose revolutionary sounds continue to influence -generations of bands and music aficionados.

Recorded “completely, totally, unapologetically and insanely live” during Weather Report’s mythic concert heydays from 1978-1981, The Legendary Live Tapes showcases the group’s classic line-up of Joe Zawinul (keyboards), Wayne Shorter (saxophone), Jaco Pastorius (electric bass), Peter Erskine (drums) and Robert Thomas, Jr. (Hand Drums) at the peak of their collective powers.

This essential Weather Report collection of previously unreleased performances has been meticulously assembled, curated and produced by Peter Erskine and Tony Zawinul (son of the late Joe Zawinul.

When electric bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius joined the Weather Report lineup in 1976, the group’s sound evolved into even more adventurous and pioneering directions. The ensemble landed a crossover hit, “Birdland,” in 1977. Drummer Peter Erskine joined in 1978 with Weather Report expanding into a formidable electric quintet with the addition of percussionist Robert “Bobby” Thomas, Jr. in 1980.

Performance high-points from these quartet and quintet lineups are chronicled in Weather Report: The Legendary Live Tapes: 1978-1981 and have been sourced from never-before-heard (outside the band) soundboard tapes recorded by Weather Report’s longtime mixing engineer Brian Risner, and bootleg recordings from the audience. Rather than attempt to recreate the ebb and flow of a Weather Report set list of the era, The Legendary Live Tapes presents a variety of key individual performances, each of them capturing the unique and dazzling musical directions Weather Report was capable of achieving.

The 4 disc collection includes extensive notes and song-by-song descriptions of the performances penned by Peter Erskine.

Night Passage

The music for Night Passage was created during Weather Reports tours from 1979 and 1980, following the live album, 8:30. The album was recorded live in front of 250 people at the Complex in Los Angeles over four shows in two nights. Jaco’s “Three Views of a Secret” composition, which later appeared on his Word of Mouth album, first appeared on this album.

Mr. Gone

Mr. Gone is one of those recordings which causes debate among fans of Weather Report and Jaco. The album features two Jaco compositions, including “River People” and “Punk Jazz”. Jaco elaborated about “River People” during an interview with the BBC’s Clive Williamson: “I have a tune, ‘River People’, and I wanted a certain kind of feel, so I decided to play drums on it. We were in a transformation period, I broke my right wrist and we had some time off, and just Joe and I were in the studio. So we did ‘River People’ that way, building the tune up on the spot. It was all written out, so all Joe had to do was play his parts, and I played mine, and it just all gelled together, and I did some overdubs. In fact, we played the bass parts together ‘coz he got this synth sound, sort of a little twang, almost like a little guitar on the top, with my bass rolling on the bottom. So we just played to the click track, and I went back and overdubbed the drums with that, as opposed to ‘Teen Town’ where I played the drums first, and overdubbed the bass part afterwards.”

8:30 (Live)

Weather Report’s best-selling album is also Jaco’s first as a co-leader. Here, Zawinul’s mega hit “Birdland” leads off the album, followed by Jaco’s lyrical fretless work on “A Remark You Made” and Jaco’s own “Teen Town” (with Jaco on bass and drums). Jaco was nominated for a Grammy (Best Jazz Soloist) for his work on this album.

Heavy Weather

Weather Report’s best-selling album is also Jaco’s first as a co-leader. Here, Zawinul’s mega hit “Birdland” leads off the album, followed by Jaco’s lyrical fretless work on “A Remark You Made” and Jaco’s own “Teen Town” (with Jaco on bass and drums). Jaco was nominated for a Grammy (Best Jazz Soloist) for his work on this album.


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