Record Label: Friday Music
The origins and sound of Weather Report are credited to the bonding of jazz veterans Joe Zawinul on keyboards and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. They were acquaintances for a decade before working together with Miles Davis on his transitional sessions of 1969 that led to In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. It was not long after that Shorter and Zawinul decided to form their own group, partnering with Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous, who had been playing and recording with the likes of Shorter, Herbie Mann, Chick Corea and Stan Getz.
Weather Report's self-titled debut of 1971 received a 5-star review in Down Beat, and went on to win Jazz Album of the Year in the annual Readers Poll. Recorded in three days, it was (said Zawinul) "a feeling-out period" for the band, as they had not previously played together as a group. Live in Tokyo, recorded in January 1972, reprised several of the debut's pieces, mostly in lengthy, highly-charged medleys. Weather Report's official second LP, 1972's I Sing the Body Electric, juxtaposed highly-edited versions of three Tokyo tracks with four new studio pieces.
It was followed in 1973 by Sweetnighter (highlighted by double drummers and percussionists), which found Weather Report moving towards a more structured approach to offset its nightly collective improvisations. Also (for the first time), an outside funk bassist replaced Vitous on certain tracks that Zawinul felt needed more groove, the precursor to Vitous leaving the band.
Home to Zawinul’s funk infused "Boogie Woogie Waltz," Shorter's powerful "Manolete" and Vitous’ soulful "Will," the LP earned Weather Report the Jazz Group of the Year honor in Down Beat's Readers Poll of 1973. Limited edition 180g vinyl mastered by Joe Reagoso at Friday Music Studios and pressed at RTI.