Weather Report – Weather Report (1971), Jazz Fusion Album

Weather Report‘ is the title of the debut studio album of the legendary, highly creative, pioneering, and innovative American jazz rock/jazz fusion band Weather Report. The album was released in May 1971 through Columbia Records, the label with which the band was signed throughout their entire musical activity.

Weather Report’s 1971 debut self-titled studio album, original frontal cover artwork. Image source:

During the early 1990s, more specifically in 1991, the LP was re-issued by Sony Music. This re-issued edition was also digitally remastered in November of the same year by senior mastering engineer Vic Anesini at Sony Music Studios in New York City.

Weather Report’s 1971 debut self-titled studio album, remastered edition frontal cover artwork. Image source:

Weather Report’s 1971 debut self-titled studio album, remastered edition back cover. Image source:

The album was recorded in early 1971, more specifically in February and March. It has a total length of 40 minutes and 5 seconds and was produced by Shoviza Productions. It is very important to highlight what was written as liner notes on the back sleeve of the album by the then president of Columbia Records on the album:

There have always been two kinds of musicians-those who create and those who imitate. Weather Report creates. It is that rare thing in music, an original […] Together these gifted young musicians have created Weather Report, a soundtrack for the mind, the imagination, for opening up heads and hearts.

In critical regards, this jazz fusion masterpiece was well to very well received. As part of Christgau’s ‘Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)‘, music critic Robert Christgau noted the following on the record:

In a Silent Way played mostly for atmosphere. The Milesian demi-jazz of side two sounds pretty finky (no misprint intended), but the tone-poem impressionism of side one does its mysterious work. Highlight: the opening mood piece, ‘Milky Way,’ in which two Silent Way vets, soprano saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Joe Zawinul, make sounds that suggest a carillon approaching a time warp.

As such, Christgau awarded Weather Report’s debut namesake studio album the mark B. In stark contrast, Allmusic gave it 5 out of 5 stars whereas the Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide gave it 3 out of 5 stars, Sputnikmusic 4 out of 5 stars, and The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings 3 out of 4 stars. Moreover, the LP won the ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ award by the prestigious DownBeat magazine, as chosen by its readers’ poll as well as the ‘Grand Prix Award’ given by Swing Journal magazine (a gold record based on winning the Journal’s Readers’ and Critics’ polls).

Keyboardist Josef ‘Joe’ Erich Zawinul, the band’s co-founder and co-frontman alongside saxophonist Wayne Shorter, stated the following on the album:

It’s like a soundtrack for the mind.

The LP has the following tracklist:

  1. Milky Way (composed by Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul);
  2. Umbrellas (composed by Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, and Miroslav Vitouš);
  3. Seventh Arrow (composed by Miroslav Vitouš);
  4. Orange Lady (composed by Joe Zawinul);
  5. Morning Lake (composed by Miroslav Vitouš);
  6. Waterfall (composed by Joe Zawinul);
  7. Tears (composed by Wayne Shorter);
  8. Eurydice (composed by Wayne Shorter).

The recording personnel was as follows:

  • Josef ‘Joe’ Erich Zawinul – electric and acoustic piano;
  • Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone;
  • Miroslav Vitouš – electric and acoustic bass;
  • Alphonse Mouzon – drums and vocals;
  • Airto Moreira – percussion.

Uncredited musicians part of Weather Report’s initial/first line-up were also:

  • Barbara Burton – percussion;
  • Don Alias – percussion.

The technical personnel was as follows:

  • Wayne Tarnowski – engineering;
  • Ed Lee – cover design;
  • Ed Freeman – cover photography;
  • Shoviza Productions Inc. – production.

Below you can integrally listen to all of the tracks of this great and rather experimental jazz fusion album by Weather Report. I truly hope you will like listening to all of the tracks embedded via Youtube. All the best, much health, take care, stay safe, many blessings, and great peace your way! God bless you and keep on listening to jazz fusion!

Documentation sources and external links:

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