Weather Report – 8:30, Jazz Fusion Live Album (1979)

8:30‘ is the title of the second live album (after ‘Live in Tokyo’ from 1972) released by the legendary American jazz fusion band Weather Report in 1979. The album was issued in August 1979 by ARC/Columbia Records and has a total length of 80 minutes and 58 seconds. It was produced by frontman and co-founder of the band, Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul in collaboration with bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius. The record was named as such given the group’s tendency to start their live performances at 8:30 PM.

‘Weather Report is the leader in a field of one.’

– Joe Zawinul

8:30 by Weather Report, live album frontal cover artwork. Image source:

The album was recorded at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in November 1978 and early 1979 respectively. In commercial regards, the album proved to be a very successful release in the catalogue of Weather Report, managing to rise to number 3 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart of that year and as high as number 47 on the Billboard 200 overall chart of the same year. In critical regards, the album is noted for garnering the band its only Grammy Award in the category of Best Jazz Fusion Performance.

In terms of professional ratings, the album was well to very well received as follows:

  • AllMusic gave it a score of 4.5 stars out of 5;
  • Christgau’s Record Guide gave it the mark B+;
  • The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 3 out of 5 stars;
  • Record Mirror gave it a score of 3.5 stars out of 5;
  • The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings gave it a score of 3 out of 4 stars.

The album was planned to feature only live material, however, according to drummer Peter Erskine, an audio engineer had accidentally deleted/erased some of the already recorded material which forced the band to record the album’s fourth side in studio. The album has a total of 4 sides and the following tracklist:

  1. Black Market (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul);
  2. Scarlet Woman (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, and Alphonso Johnson);
  3. Teen Town (composed by Jaco Pastorius);
  4. A Remark You Made (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul);
  5. Slang (composed by Jaco Pastorius);
  6. In a Silent Way (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul);
  7. Birdland (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul);
  8. Thanks for the Memory (originally composed by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger);
  9. Medley: Badia/Boogie Woogie Waltz;
  10. 8:30 (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul);
  11. Brown Street (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul and Wayne Shorter);
  12. The Orphan (composed by Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul);
  13. Sightseeing (composed by Wayne Shorter).

Side one includes tracks 1 to 2, side two spans from track 3 to 6, side three encompasses tracks 7 to 9, and side four encloses tracks 10 to 13. ‘8:30’ was initially released as a double gatefold LP. Overseas, outside the United States, the LP was released as a double CD.

The recording personnel was as follows:

  • Josef ‘Joe’ Zawinul – keyboards, ARP Quadra synthesizer bass, Korg Vocoder VC-10, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, percussion;
  • Wayne Shorter – tenor and soprano saxophones;
  • Jaco Pastorius – fretless electric bass (more specifically a 1962 fretless Fender jazz bass, known as the ‘Bass of Doom’),  percussion, drums on two tracks, namely ‘8:30’ ‘Brown Street’;
  • Peter Erskine – drums;
  • Erich Zawinul – percussion on ‘Brown Street’;
  • The West Los Angeles Christian Academy Children’s Choir – vocals on ‘The Orphan’.

Therefore, that being said and without any further needless ado or unwanted spoilers on my behalf, I wholeheartedly recommend integrally listening to all of the album’s songs down below, embedded via Youtube! Enjoy and all the best!

Documentation sources and external links:

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