Weather Report: Scarlet Woman
Mysterious Traveller (Columbia CK 32494)
Ishmael Wilburn (drums), Dom Um Romăo (percussion).
Composed by Alphonso Johnson, Josef Zawinul & Wayne Shorter.
Recorded: North Hollywood, CA, February-May 1974
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Mysterious Traveller really got things going for Weather Report. The album was the band's fourth release and started a 4-year run of jazz and rock awards. It also marked the beginning of a funkier phase for the group that was most notably realized in the lines of its new electric bassist, Alphonso Johnson.
"Scarlet Woman" is a soundscape virtually devoid of melody. The funk lies partly in its ponderously slow rhythm and deeply ominous riffs played in unison by saxophonist Wayne Shorter and a synthesizer-armed Joe Zawinul. Johnson adds some funk bass flourishes, but they are mostly hidden by the tune's density. The percussion, as sparse as it is, suggests dark Africa. Zawinul takes a moment to do some layering before the piece fades out into the darkness.
Weather Report was quite adept at painting a sound picture. This would be abstract art. I can stare at some of that stuff for hours. Similarly, I could listen to "Scarlet Woman" for an hour straight. But it is only five minutes long.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky
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”Wayne Shorter” by Matt Miller (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)
”Joe Zawinul” by Jared Pauley (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Weather Report Tracks by Jared Pauley