Miroslav Vitous Group: Remembering Weather Report (ECM)

 |   |  1 min read

Miroslav Vitous Group: Variations on W Shorter
Miroslav Vitous Group: Remembering Weather Report (ECM)

With the reunion of Chick Corea and John McLaughlin; bassist Stanley Clarke back with another trio album with pianist Hiromi and drummer Lenny White; Clarke, Corea, White and guitarist Al Di Meola returning as another Return to Forever; and other Seventies fusion artists on the trail again it looks like that whole movement has been rehabilitated.

The nu-fusion from some these people isn't as confusin' as the old fusion (see McLaughlin and Corea here), but this album lead by acoustic bassist Vitous who was a founder of Weather Report (replaced by Alphonso Johnson who was in turn replaced by the tragic Jaco Pastorius in '76) takes off in a very different direction.

This isn't the spiralling, rapid-fire, electric fusion of most practitioners but -- perhaps as expected on the ECM label -- a more quiet, considered, edgy and acoustic exploration which keeps one ear on Weather Report but equally makes its own very independent statement.

The spirit of Ornette Coleman is as evident as that of WR's Wayne Shorter and late Zawinul, not just in their Variations on Lonely Woman but in the playing of tenor man Gary Campbell and trumpeter Franco Ambrossetti. Drummer Gerald Cleaver is tangential and discreetly exciting, driving when necessary; and guest on bass clarinet Michel Portal might as well be part of the group as he is integral to this innovative music.

The music also refers to Slavic folk (one lively piece is When Dvorak Meets Miles) but everywhere Vitous' playing -- melodic runs, strident or sensitive arco -- is the glue.

Don't come here if you are expecting a straight tribute album to Weather Report, but certainly sign up if the idea of inventive, mutually appreciative but never indulgent, hard-edge improvised music is your thing. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

Longtime followers of the ECM label will register that this one ticks any number of the right boxes: the line-up of pianist Elaine Elias, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Joey Baron (a working trio in... > Read more

Paul Bley: Play Blue (ECM/Ode)

Paul Bley: Play Blue (ECM/Ode)

It seems absurd to say it -- but others have -- that this solo concert in Oslo by pianist Paul Bley is a career highlight. Absurd, because at the time of this recording in 2008 he was 75.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE INCIDENT, a film by LARRY PEERCE (Madman DVD)

THE INCIDENT, a film by LARRY PEERCE (Madman DVD)

This exceptionally taut black'n'white drama from 1967 is one the great cult films, not just for its undeniable filmic qualities but the fact it was for so long unavailable on DVD or, to the best of... > Read more

Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

For many decades I kept a clipping about Blue Cheer and this particular album inside the record cover, and of course when I went to look for it recently it was gone. But the gist of it was this:... > Read more