Weather Report – Black Market

Weather Report – Black Market

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Weather Report's Black Market, issued in 1976 was notable for the arrival of young bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius, the addition of the Oberheim Prophet polyphonic synthesizer to Joe Zawinul's bank of keyboards and the title track which, with its sweetly voiced melody, intensifying rhythms and doubled basses achieves the kind of unity you wouldn't expect from a band in constant flux. The album, which preceded the 1977 breakthrough, Heavy Weather, does not showcase Wayne Shorter to best effect--his pretty but banal composition "Elegant People", on which he plays the electronic Lyricon as well as tenor and soprano, is TV theme music crossed with smooth jazz. But with "Cannon Ball", Zawinul's heartfelt tribute to his former boss Cannonball Adderley and "Barbary Coast", on which Pastorius steps out with his fretless funkified axe, Black Market stands up as one of the more rewarding Weather Report efforts of the period. --Lloyd Sachs