Weather Report: Volcano for Hire


Volcano for Hire


Weather Report


Weather Report (Sony)

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Joe Zawinul (keyboards, percussion), Wayne Shorter (sax), Jaco Pastorius (bass, percussion, voice), Peter Erskine (drums),

Robert Thomas Jr. (hand drums, percussion)


Composed by Josef Zawinul


Recorded: New York City, Pasadena, CA, Los Angeles (not specified by cut), 1982


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Weather Report's very first album, named Weather Report, came out in 1971. This album is also called Weather Report. It came out in 1982. Understandably, at the time this caused much confusion. But it was brilliant marketing. Create chaos in the marketplace. Get people talking. On the other hand, the Weather Report of 1982 was quite different from the first incarnation featuring bassist Miroslav Vitous back in 1971. So in that respect, using the same title made sense.

The 1982 Weather Report was the final recording featuring Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine as band members. The album is not one of the better received in the band's discography. Some argue that the group was having issues with its record label and purposely delivered something below their normal standards. True or not, the album did contain a couple of noteworthy Weather Report trademark grooves. "Volcano for Hire" is an example.

Zawinul's growing love for world music is evident here as international rhythms begin the piece. Zawinul plays no less than three keyboards simultaneously in an introductory motif. Shorter's solo comes before you think the introduction is over. It is a probing trip full of short bursts. Enter the groove. Zawinul dominates this section with layers upon layers of synthesizer work. Shorter and Zawinul then perform the piece's uplifting secondary theme as Pastorius offers a rapid walking bassline and Erskine and Thomas continue with their rhythmic exploits. The music ends on the rise.

Actually, I'm sorry more bands have not followed Weather Report in using the same titles for some of their albums. I could only imagine the wonderful confusion, controversies and arguments such a radical practice would create.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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