New album explores music bassist made with Weather Report
By David Sands
July 15, 2016
With his latest album, the acclaimed Czech bassist Miroslav Vitouš has decided to revisit the early days of his career. The Music of Weather Report returns to and expands upon music he made during his time as a founding member of the pioneering jazz fusion band, a period that lasted between 1970-1973.
A music prodigy who trained at the Prague Conservatory, Vitouš came to the U.S. in 1965 after winning a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He soon moved to New York where he began playing with musicians like Art Farmer, Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard and, for a short time, Miles Davis. In 1970, along with keyboard player Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter (who both played on Davis’ groundbreaking Bitches Brew album), Vitouš formed Weather Report, though he only stayed on a few years due to differences of opinions with the other members.
The Music of Weather Report isn’t the first time the bassist has looked back musically on his time with the band; he covered somewhat similar terrain with 2009’s Remembering Weather Report. But whereas that recording delved into the spirit of the jazz fusion group, this one reengages directly with its repertoire. Relying on Weather Report’s improvisational methodology, the album weaves together classic Weather Report songs like “Morning Lake” and “Seventh Arrow” with newer atmospheric blues tunes composed by Vitouš.
“The main attraction here is the combination of the two tandems,” Vitouš says in a statement on the recording. “For instance, saxophone and one drummer will be playing at fast tempo while me and the second drummer play in almost half-time shuffle feel. But the tempos are not mathematically even. They are like two different dimensions…or like two planets next to each other, or two galaxies or universes pulling and affecting each other.”
Along with Vitouš playing double bass and keyboards, the album also features saxophonists Gary Campbell and Roberto Bonisolo, drummers Gerald Cleaver and Nasheet Waits and keyboardist Aydin Esen.
1. Scarlet Woman Variation 1
2. Seventh Arrow
3. Multi Dimension Blues 2
4. Birdland Variations
5. Multi Dimension Blues 1
6. Pinocchio Variations
7. Acrobat Issues
8. Scarlet Woman Variation 2
9. Multi Dimension Blues 3
10. Morning Lake
Title: The Music of Weather Report
Artist: Miroslav Vitous
Label: ECM Records
Release Date: July 8, 2016
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