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November 2005

Various Artists
Mysterious Voyages: A Tribute to Weather Report
Tone Center

Weather Report made several extraordinary releases through a mostly distinguished 16-year career that further elevated the sizable reputations of coleaders saxophonist Wayne Shorter and keyboardist Joe Zawinul. Their compositional acumen provides the foundation for this two-disc workout. The list of participants mirrors Weather Report's numerous personnel changes, not to mention the group's varied stylistic directions. Rather than be an exercise in repertory, here's one tribute date with ample fresh takes and dynamic playing.

Keyboardist Rachel Z touches on New Age and rock for "On the Milky Way Express," while fellow keys player Scott Kinsey uses sampled vocals by Mamady Keita and sampled recorder and electric guitar from Steve Tavaglione on "Big Rock." Bassist Marcus Miller joins Weather Report alumni and drummer Omar Hakim and percussionist Don Alias for a version of Jaco Pastorius' "Teen Town" that's equal parts funk romp and Afro-Latin excursion. Pianist Michiel Borstlap and saxophonist Yuri Honing reflect the introspective elements of Weather Report with Borstlap's "Memory of Enchantment," which contains outstanding soprano sax from Honing.

The CD has many other exciting and dazzling moments, among them a sparkling performance of "Pinocchio" by pianist Michael Wolff, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Tony Williams as well as booming, flashy electric bass workouts from Kai Eckhardt on "Queen of Cups" and Gary Willis on his original "Emancipation."

Originally published in November 2005
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