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Weather Report: Conditions Clear for Box Set

Weather Report

At this point in their respective careers, neither Joe Zawinul nor Wayne Shorter is in the habit of going back and listening to the classic recordings of Weather Report, the groundbreaking band they cofounded back in 1971. As the forward-looking Zawinul, now 74, so succinctly put it a couple of years ago, “I don’t listen to the old music. When it’s done, it’s done.”

Nevertheless, three-time Grammy Award-winning reissue producer Bob Belden was able to get both Zawinul and Shorter to review their massive Weather Report catalog on Columbia Records and hand-pick selections for Forecast: Tomorrow, a three-CD anthology containing 37 tracks spanning the group’s recorded output from 1971 to 1985. Included in this deluxe box set is a DVD of a live concert performance in Germany on Sept. 28, 1978. Filmed at the Stadthalle in Offenbach, this never-before-seen footage captures the Mr. Gone edition of Weather Report (Zawinul, Shorter, Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine) at the peak of its dynamic powers. As Belden notes, “A Weather Report concert at that point was more than just a show; it was a spectacle. They had taken it well beyond intimate jazz for a club setting by introducing a stadium-rock mentality into the business. That’s when musicians started spreading out onstage and bands started traveling with their own sound systems and sound engineers. And Weather Report was the pioneer of that.”

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