COMPOSERS: Weather Report
LABELS: Art of Groove/Birdjam
PERFORMER: Joe Zawinul (keyboards), Wayne Shorter (sax), Alphonso Johnson (bass), Alex Acuña, Chester Thompson (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: MIG80020
This package comprises both an all-region DVD and a CD of the same performance, originally captured by the German ZDF television channel and presented here with what’s probably about as much fidelity as technology allows, although the general fuzziness of the image and the lovingly preserved ripples of interference never let you forget that this footage was 35 years old when it was transferred. The camerawork more than offsets this, though, providing exactly the right balance of atmospheric angles and muso-nerd closeup shots.
Sonically, the stereo mix is a bit flat but there’s still enough detail to satisfy all but the most militant audiophile. The performance, unsurprisingly, is extraordinary. The slickness associated with the band’s studio work seems worlds away from the exploratory spontaneity which typified gigs such as this one; indeed, I’d go so far as to say that it’s recordings like this that capture the band’s true essence. Roger Thomas