COMPOSERS: Weather Report
LABELS: Art of Groove/Birdjam
WORKS: Live in Offenbach, 1978
PERFORMER: Joe Zawinul (keyboards), Wayne Shorter (sax), Jaco Pastorius (bass) etc
CATALOGUE NO: MIG80092
The discs in this series (which is what they amount to), culled from old German TV broadcasts and issued both as DVDs and double CDs, aren’t exactly exploitative but they are as close to this as dignity allows: nice for completists, but the rest of us will be wondering whether this stuff shouldn’t just have been parked on YouTube.
However, one listener’s flotsam is another’s collectors’ item and, I hasten to add, none of the above is a criticism of the musical content, which is fine. Here are two versions of the band, the (arguably definitive) Jaco/Erskine group and the 1983 new boys who had a hard act to follow. All the players are on good form, though, displaying the liberated exuberance that made such a difference to the band outside the confines of the studio. Both sound and vision are unsurprisingly less than pristine, but fans will forgive that. Roger Thomas