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Remembering Weather Report by Miroslav Vitous Group

It’s not just another Weather Report tribute. Here, original co-founder and bassist, Miroslav Vitous fronts an all-acoustic ensemble while revisiting the original concepts he injected into Weather Report’s composite sound back in 1970. And as stated in the album notes, the bassist instills "direct conversations and parity between the instruments." In light of that, the program is based on group-centric interplay via a democratic approach, where everyman is an integral part of the master plan.

The open-ended and capacious string of musical events commence with "Variations On W. Shorter," where the musicians hint at the primary melody of "Nefertiti," by spinning the core into an elongated and animated theme. Here, Vitous’ arco bass lines help dissect the familiar harmonic structure as the musicians expand matters into a sweeping improvisation vehicle. The schema continues during "Variations On Lonely Woman," composed by Ornette Coleman. Again, they rework the song-form in similar fashion, abetted by Gerald Cleaver’s tumbling drum patterns and bass clarinetist Michel Portal’s sinuous lines hovering over the top.

"Surfing With Michel," is a duo setting between Vitous and Portal which is asymmetrical parts, discordant and lyrically resplendent. In various movements, the band abides by an introspective gait as they trek upon a wide-open plane featuring trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti’s fluttering notes. The final piece "Blues Report," is inspired by Miles Davis and boasts a catchy, yet simple blues line, occasionally accelerated by the bassist’s complex voicings; an epigrammatic swing vamp, and a few mini-meltdowns.

There is no stark resemblance to Weather Report’s early fusion propensities, but Vitous’ conceptions and practices appear remarkably nouveau, thirty-nine years after the fact. The music propagates a novel framework that is consistent with the logical steps that propel jazz-based stylizations into a metamorphic and timeless art form.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Miroslav Vitous Group
  • CD Title: Remembering Weather Report
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: ECM Records
  • Musicians: Franco Ambrosetti (trumpet), Gary Campbell (tenor saxophone), Miroslav Vitous (double-bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums), Michel Portal (bass clarinet (1, 2, 4)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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