ORG Reinvents Heavy Weather
This 1977 album, Weather Report's 7th and most popular, thanks in great part to the joyous tropical paradise of an expanded lilting riff called "Birdland," has been given a new lease on life due in great part to Bernie Grundman's astonishing 45rpm mastering job working with the original analog tapes and a great RTI pressing.
The 12" 45rpm single of "Birdland", once considered a rare sonic treasure, sounds positively anemic and ordinary next to the version on this double 45.
Keyboardist joe Zawinul, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, legendary bassist Jaco Pastorious, drummer Alex Acuña and percussionist Manolo Badrena produced flowing, angular, driving tropical rhythms carried aloft by Shorter's soaring soprano and tenor sax lines, anchored by Zawinul's multi-keyboard pulses and Pastorious's fretless bass excursions.
The soaring, joyous music, peppered with the then new sound of the synthesizer (particularly in jazz) was just what music lovers needed around then after a decade of political misery and economic and cultural decline. It was a fresh, new sound and by the time of this album the group had grown beyond frivolity and into a meaningful exploration.
Anyone familiar with the cut "Birdland" through repeated listenings to the original pressing or digital editions and thinking they have peered into every sonic nook and cranny will hear it anew and full of sonic surprises, particularly spatially. It's positively three-dimensional extreme ear candy. Considering that the engineer was Ron Malo who engineered at Chess for years recording, among other things Muddy Waters, Folk Singer, that should hardly come as a surprise.
If you're a hard-core "jazz purist" not even Grundman's sonic miracles will bring you around, but otherwise this limited to 2500 copies edition is an adrenaline jolt of a treasured re-issue that will lift you off the ground every play.