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Miroslav Vitous: Music of Weather Report

The departure of founding Weather Report bassist Miroslav Vitous, after just three years in the early ’70s, is not widely lamented, since it eventually led the band to the godhead Jaco Pastorious (and, in between, the funky Alphonso Johnson). But Music of Weather Report not only reminds us how underrated and uniquely creative the group’s early records were, it provides a tantalizing glimpse into how the bassist might have skewed their more classic later material into abstract majesty.

On Remembering Weather Report, from 2009, Vitous honored his old band by applying the group’s freer-form spatial grandeur and floating, gently grooving fusion to classic tracks like “Nefertiti” and “Lonely Woman.” This belated sequel, recorded in 2010, doubles down by adding a second drummer (Nasheet Waits, now alongside Gerald Cleaver) and saxophonist (Robert Bonisolo joins Gary Campbell) while directly addressing the Weather Report canon both during and after Vitous’ tenure.

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