Most “live and unreleased” retrospectives contain tracks that were once wisely relegated to storage bins. While such recordings are often excavated for all the wrong reasons, Weather Report’s “Live and Unreleased” is the exception. This 18-track, two-CD set is an excellent selection of the band’s greatest songs captured live between 1975 and 1983. At the time, Weather Report was one of the best bands around, of any genre.
Weather Report’s fusion style blended the stadium-filling energy of rock with the improvisational prowess of jazz, plus threw in a dash of funk and world music (before it achieved genre status). Fronted by Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, both fresh out of Miles Davis’ electric groups, the band was incredible live, both explosive and sophisticated. Looking back on it, Weather Report’s heyday was possibly fusion’s last hurrah. After the band split up, rock was rock, jazz was jazz, and never the twain should meet again, at least not with as much integrity.
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