Weather Report: Scarlet Woman


Scarlet Woman


Weather Report


Mysterious Traveller (Columbia CK 32494)

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Joe Zawinul (keyboards), Wayne Shorter (sax), Alphonso Johnson (electric bass),

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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Related Links

In Conversation with Wayne Shorter by Bob Blumenthal
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Wayne Shorter Performances by Matt Miller
”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

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