Weather Report – Mr. Gone (1978), A Legendary Jazz Fusion Album

‘Mr. Gone’ is the eighth studio album released by legendary jazz fusion band Weather Report which was fronted by jazz fusion pioneer Joe Zawinul. The album was released in September 1978 through American Record Corporation (ARC)/Columbia Records. It is the follow-up to the very successful ‘Heavy Weather‘ which was released one year before, in 1977.

‘Mr. Gone’ (1978) frontal cover artwork. Image source: www.discogs.com

The album was recorded in May 1978 at Devonshire Sound Studios in North Holywood, California and it has a total running time of 37 minutes and 15 seconds. It was produced by the band’s frontman, Joe Zawinul, and co-produced by bass legend Jaco Pastorius.

‘Mr. Gone’ is Weather Report’s third continuous studio album to feature legendary bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius, after ‘Black Market’ (1976) and ‘Heavy Weather’ (1977). Furthermore, the album’s sixth track, more specifically ‘Punk Jazz’ (which was composed by Pastorius himself), subsequently became the title of a solo Jaco Pastorius posthumous compilation. In total, the album has 8 tracks. It eventually rose to #1 on the Billboard Jazz albums chart later on during the same year when it was released.

Advertisement for ‘Mr. Gone’ (1978) by legendary jazz fusion band Weather Report. Image source: Google Images

The album was met with mixed reviews on behalf of several important specialized music magazines, ranging from Rolling Stone to the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (3 stars to 2 and a half stars reviews respectively). But the harshest review stemmed from the prestigious DownBeat magazine which only gave it one star. In stark contrast, readers of the High Fidelity magazine chose the album as their number one in the publication’s Critics’ Choice poll for 1978 in the category of Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Other magazines that gave favourable reviews to ‘Mr. Gone’ include Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and New York Daily News. Joe Zawinul later furiously responded to DownBeat magazine’s poor one-star review in a subsequent interview.

Down below is the full track list of the album:

  1. The Pursuit of the Woman with the Feathered Hat (composed by Joe Zawinul)
  2. River People (composed by Jaco Pastorius)
  3. Young and Fine (composed by Joe Zawinul)
  4. The Elders (composed by Wayne Shorter and arranged by Joe Zawinul)
  5. Mr. Gone (composed by Jone Zawinul)
  6. Punk Jazz (composed by Jaco Pastorius)
  7. Pinocchio (composed by Wayne Shorter)
  8. And Then (composed by Joe Zawinul and lyrics written by Sam Guest)

The recording personnel of the band proper was as follows:

  • Joe Zawinul – electric piano, acoustic piano, synthesizers, kalimba, thumbeki drums, sleigh bells, melodica, high hat, vocals (on tracks 1 and 5);
  • Wayne Shorter – tenor, alto, and soprano saxophones as well as vocals (solely on track 1);
  • Jaco Pastorius – electric bass, drums (solely on tracks 1 and 2), timpani (solely on track 2), vocals (on tracks 1, 2, and 6);
  • Peter Erskine – drums (on tracks 1 and 7), hi hat (solely on track 3), and vocals (solely on track 1).

Additional recording personnel:

  • Tony Williams – drums (on tracks 5 and 6);
  • Steve Gadd – drums (on on tracks 3 and 8);
  • Manolo Badrena – vocal solo (solely on track 1);
  • Jon Lucien – vocals (solely on track 1);
  • Deniece Williams – vocals (solely on track 8);
  • Maurice White – vocals (solely on track 8).

The technical personnel was as follows:

  • Alex Kazanegras – engineer;
  • Dave Mancini – second engineer;
  • Nancy Donald – cover design;
  • Lou Beach – cover illustration.

Down below you can listen to both sides of ‘Mr. Gone’ via Youtube. Enjoy and all the best!

Fun fact/trivia: According to what I know (unofficially though), ‘Mr. Gone’ was Joe’s nickname in New York. I cannot 100% guarantee this.

Documentation sources and external links:

  1. Mr. Gone on www.wikipedia.org (in English)
  2. Mr. Gone – Weather Report on www.bilbosbassbites.co.uk
  3. Mr. Gone on www.progarchives.com

3 thoughts on “Weather Report – Mr. Gone (1978), A Legendary Jazz Fusion Album

  1. Satoshi says:

    So long MR.Gone

  2. According to the excellent Weather Report history “Elegant People” by Curt Bianchi, Jaco referred to Wayne Shorter as ‘Mr Gone” (in reference to him not being able to get material ready for the album) and Zawinul decided to use that as the album/song name.

    1. Victor Rouă says:

      Thank you so much for this valuable information! I see then, so it wasn’t Zawinul’s nickname! Many thanks once again for this enlightening comment! Much respect and all the best!

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