‘Heavy Weather’ is the seventh studio album by legendary jazz fusion band Weather Report which was released through Columbia Records in March 1977. The LP was recorded between late 1976 and early 1977 at Devonshire Sound Studios, North Hollywood, California. The album has a total length of 37 minutes and and 39 seconds. It was followed by the moderately-successful ‘Mr. Gone‘ one year later in 1978.
‘Heavy Weather’ initially sold an impressive number of 500,000 copies worldwide. In this regard, the album proved to be Weather Report’s best selling record. Additionally, in terms of its critical reception, ‘Heavy Weather’ was very well received, most notably by the prestigious DownBeat magazine which gave it a well deserved 5-star rating.
Moreover, this jazz fusion masterpiece even got voted as the jazz album of that year by the readers of this jazz-oriented prestigious publication. At the same time, it is also very important to mention the fact that The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide gave it a review of 5 stars as well whereas The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings gave it 4.5 stars overall. In terms of other professional ratings, it is equally important to mention the fact that Allmusic gave it 5 out 5 stars, Artistdirect gave it 5 out of 5 stars, and Encyclopedia of Popular Music gave it 5 out of 5 stars as well.
‘Heavy Weather’ is also one of the best selling records overall in the entire jazz catalogue of Columbia Records. The first song on the album is none other than jazz standard ‘Birdland’ composed by Joe Zawinul (which also appears on Maynard Ferguson’s 1978 studio album ‘Carnival‘) which eventually went on to be a major commercial success.
In terms of its musical legacy, it is very important to mention the fact that ‘Heavy Weather’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in February 2011. Before its induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the album was also included in Robert Dimery’s very interesting 2005 musical book entitled ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die‘. With respect to another entry in a musical book, ‘Heavy Weather’ was also voted no. 822 in ‘All Time Top 1000 Albums‘ by British writer Colin Larkin.
‘Heavy Weather’ has two sides, the first comprising 4 songs and the second consisting of the remainder of other 4. As a side note, it’s also very interesting to point out the fact that ‘Heavy Weather’ is the second consecutive studio album of Weather Report after Black Market (1976) on which Jaco Pastorius is featured. This time, however, Jaco entirely replaced former bassist Alphonso Johnson and would play an even bigger part in the recording process of the album, thereby even co-producing it along with frontman Joe Zawinul.
The tracklist of the album is as follows:
- Birdland (composed by Joe Zawinul)
- A Remark You Made (composed by Joe Zawinul)
- Teen Town (composed by Jaco Pastorius)
- Harlequin (composed by Wayne Shorter)
- Rumba Mamá (composed by Manola Badrena and Alex Acuña)
- Palladíum (composed by Wayne Shorter)
- The Juggler (composed by Joe Zawinul)
- Havona (composed by Jaco Pastorius)
The personnel and technical staff were as follows:
- Josef ‘Joe’ Erich Zawinul – synths, electric piano, grand piano, guitar, melodica, and tabla (also record producer and orchestrator)
- Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone and tenor saxophone (also assistant producer)
- Jaco Pastorius – fretless bass, mandocello, vocals, drums, and steel drums (also co-producer)
- Alejandro (Alex) Acuña – drums, congas, tom-toms, and handclaps
- Manolo Badrena – percussion (tambourine, congas, and timbales) as well as occasional vocals
- Ron Malo – engineer
- Jerry Hudgins – assistant engineer
- Brian Risner – assistant engineer and chief meteorologist
- Frank Tozour – Sony re-issue premastering
- Nancy Donald – design (cover artwork)
- Lou Beach – illustration (cover artwork)
- Keith Williamson – photography
Down below you can listen to this jazz fusion masterpiece in its entirety! Enjoy, have a most fulfilling and brilliant musical audition, all the best, much health, take care, stay safe, and keep on listening to jazz fusion!