Weather Report – Sweetnighter (1973), Jazz Fusion Album

Sweetnighter is the title of the third studio album released by the legendary jazz fusion band Weather Report through Columbia Records in early 1973. The LP was recorded at a Connecticut Recording Studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut between 3 and 7 February 1973 and issued 2 months later, on 27 April. The record was produced by Bob Belden. It has a total length of 44 minutes and 41 seconds.

Sweetnighter (1973) by legendary jazz fusion band Weather Report, frontal cover artwork. Image source:

Sweetnighter is considered by music critics as a transitional studio album by Weather Report in that it consists of songs with a far more structured composition behind, as opposed to the earlier studio albums of the band during the beginning of the 1970s when the overall sound of the group was far more improvisational.

In critical regards, the album was well to very well received and reviewed by specialized music magazines such as, most notably, AllMusic (which gave it 4 out of 5 stars), The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide (3 out of 5 stars), Sputnikmusic (which gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars), and Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (which gave the highest mark of all, more specifically 3.5 out of 4 stars). Even Robert Christgau praised it giving it a B in ‘Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies’ from 1981.

It is quite hilarious what keyboardist and frontman/band leader Joe Zawinul himself said on the album, namely:

‘The first hip-hop beat ever recorded!’

Last but not least, it is very important to mention the fact that Sweetnighter was the last Weather Report studio album to feature founding bassist Miroslav Vitouš, although he later on briefly appeared and was credited on ‘Mysterious Traveller’ in 1974 as well, but only on track number 2. In addition, for the recording sessions of this album, Andrew White also performed on bass.

The album consists of 6 tracks as follows:

  • Boogie Woogie Waltz (composed by Joe Zawinul);
  • Manolete (composed by Wayne Shorter);
  • Adios (composed by Joe Zawinul);
  • 125th Street Congress (composed by Joe Zawinul);
  • Will (composed by Miroslav Vitouš);
  • Non-Stop Home (composed by Joe Zawinul).

Out of all tracks, the opener Boogie Woogie Waltz (also my most favourite song from the album) was used on many concert sets that the band performed throughout the 1970s.

The recording personnel for the album was as follows:

  • Josef ‘Joe’ Erich Zawinul – piano (on tracks 2 and 6), electric piano (on tracks 1 to 5), synthesizer (on tracks 1, 2, and 6);
  • Wayne Shorter – saxophones (on all tracks);
  • Miroslav Vitouš – electric bass (on tracks 3 and 5) as well as acoustic bass (on tracks 1, 2, and 4);
  • Andrew White – electric bass (on tracks 1, 4, and 6) and English horn (on tracks 3 and 5);
  • Herschel Dwellingham – drums (on tracks 1, 2, 4, and 6);
  • Eric Gravatt – drums (on tracks 2, 4, and 6);
  • Muruga Booker – Morrocan clay drums (solely on tracks 1 and 2), roller toy (solely on track 3) as well as Israeli jar drums (on track 4).
  • Dom Um Romão (whom I like to refer in Romanian as ‘Domn Um Romão’ – i.e. Mr. Um Romão) – percussion and wooden flute.

The technical personnel was as follows:

  • The production crew Shoviza Productions;
  • Phil Giambalvo – engineer;
  • John Berg – cover design;
  • Dick Hess – cover artwork/design.

Down below you can integrally listen to all the constituent tracks of Sweetnighter via Youtube. Enjoy and all the best! Thank you very much for your time, readership, and attention on The Rockpedia! I appreciate them very much and I am very grateful for your visit! Cheers!

Documentation sources and external links:

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