Weather Report: Havona
Heavy Weather (Columbia CK 47481)
Alex Acuna (drums).
Composed by Jaco Pastorius.
Recorded: North Hollywood, CA, 1977
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Of all the fusion groups that blazed the trail in the early '70s, Weather Report was the most jazz-like. "Havona" is a good example. If you removed the opening synthesizer work from this fusion number, you would have a powerful progressive jazz piece. (Of course, you would have to be nuts to do that! The synthesizer creates the character of the piece, and its inclusion is what Weather Report was all about.) In any case, Zawinul plays a swinging acoustic piano. Although Shorter never really plays straight-ahead, more often than not he too is blowing more traditional sounds. Jaco Pastorius plays electric bass and shows off, but he could play the same thing on acoustic. Alex Acuna is a good jazz drummer.
This music sounds as contemporary today as it seemed ahead of its time in 1977. There are progressive jazz bands and fusion groups out there today that would kill to sound this vital.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky