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Weather Report Live at Montreux 1976


Dave Ferris
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A friend on FB posted this recent addition to YT. I just finished watching/listening to it in its entirety. Some observations and two questions.

 

It's a timeless, mind blowing, Fantastic live set, with excellent audio. Jaco's solo feature @ 24:55 was one standout for me. The melodies, harmonies, chord voicings and effects he gets out of four strings, with no effects boxes, is other worldly.

 

Has there ever been anyone as innovative, all-encompassing and influential on the electric bass up until that time ? He literally was the "Charlie Parker" of the instrument. Still sounds fresh and original close to a half-century later.

 

As anyone who followed them from the beginning or was a later fan knew, the textures and sounds Joe Z got out of 1976 analog technology are unsurpassed from a creative musical standpoint.

 

The unison composed lines between synth and sax (soprano and tenor), and sax and Jaco highly defined their distinctive sound. Along with Wayne's use of the soprano sax with backing from the phased rhodes, this all introduced the possibilities of a different soundscape.

 

A sneak peek preview of an unreleased Birdland on the intro of Dr. Honoris Causa And Directions @ 58:05

 

Two questions - what is, or where is it coming from, the effect that sounds somewhat like a screeching bird on Badia at the 1:06:51 mark ? Joe turns briefly as to engage something that maybe is that effect ? Also, what is he plucking with his LH during this sequence as well?

 

The set closes with a high intensity Gibraltar that builds to a climax. The way that Joe plays a completely different texture under all the building intensity when Wayne is playing a repetitive melodic motif, it literally has a symphony orchestra effect. I always found that fascinating about his concept.

 

And to think I did a Star Bucks jingle with Alex playing percussion many years ago. We played this insipid, dumb E7 vamp for probably 30 takes, because the producer wanted it to appear to the suits (that insisted on sitting in at the session) we were earning our dough. :facepalm:

 

Coming from the pinnacle of 20th Century cutting edge and playing with these geniuses to something like that...man now that's some dues !...or just a paycheck. ;)

 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just started listening. Thanks for posting this, it's another youtube gem I might have missed out on. Audio is excellent! Jaco looks great - healthy, and playing his ass off. This is a great edition of the band. I saw them a few times, once with Alphonso Johnson in Boston - so, pretty early on, around 1975 I think. Then in 1979 at the Berkeley Jazz Festival. I had my Sony TC55 "cassette- corder" on me, and somewhere in my garage is a recording of their whole set. This is also where Joni Mitchell played with a special edition of her "Mingus Band" - Jaco, Tony Williams, Herbie and Don Alias. I have that set too, but I'm pretty sure it's available somewhere on these tubes. This predated the tour with Metheny, Lyle and Brecker.

 

I'm not surprised at all to hear you did a jingle session with Alex Acuna - gotta pay the rent, right? I heard similar stories here in NY. I was never in the jingle scene here, but did get to do exactly one in my entire life - with Ron Carter! I have a vivid memory of him smoking his pipe and reading the New York Times in-between takes!

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This predated the tour with Metheny, Lyle and Brecker.

 

I'm not surprised at all to hear you did a jingle session with Alex Acuna - gotta pay the rent, right? I heard similar stories here in NY. I was never in the jingle scene here, but did get to do exactly one in my entire life - with Ron Carter! I have a vivid memory of him smoking his pipe and reading the New York Times in-between takes!

 

My wife and I had been in LA only six months in 1979 and someone I met on a gig asked me...hey I've got tickets to the Joni Mitchell Concert with Brecker, Jaco, Metheny, Lyle and Don Alias in a few weeks but it coincides with my wife's brother's big birthday party. Would you like to go ? I said sure, where is at it in town ? He said, no it's up in Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I said where in the heck is Santa Barbara, I've never heard of it ? :laugh: He said it's just under 100 miles to the North, up the 101 freeway.

 

My initial reaction was...yikes that's too far. But then my wife said, we should go, it will be a new adventure. Then she asked some people at work if Santa Barbara was a nice place and worth the drive. They said, are you kidding ?! It's probably the best area in SoCal ! So we reserved a night at the Motel 6 in Goleta. The seats were in the nose bleed section and the sound wasn't great back then if you sat far away. But glad we went. And later found out the Concert became her double LP, Shadows and Light. It was great to start seeing the excerpts of the DVD on yt. It didn't sound that good from where we were.

 

Yes I wasn't in the jingle scene either. My friend had a few accounts and he used me from time to time. Most of the sessions were in his home studio with just the two of us. But Star Bucks shelled out the dough for a full band in a "hollywood studio" and flew down their suits down from Seattle to sit in on the proceedings. The whole session was smoke and mirrors. ;)

 

Growing up in St. Louis, I never had the chance to see Weather Report. I did see the Zawinul Syndicate at the Hollywood Bowl in August of 2004. It was "Jazz Night" and Michael Brecker's Quartet, Dave Holland's Big Band and the Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra were also on the program. I have to say Joe's set was largely uninspiring. It sounded like a jam band that was having an off night.

 

That's a great story about Ron Carter !

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, there's running jokes among my friends about the suits that would sit in on jingle sessions and ask for another take to be "more purple"... stuff like that. I only got to hear about it, never experience it. I honestly have no clue what the jingle scene is like in NY now - if there even is one. When synths first started encroaching on the string players and drummers, I remember a period of time when the jingle writers would hire their "synth programmers", then they learned how to do it all themselves and there went that avenue of employment. It didn't matter much because the budgets for demos soon went to $0; they were expected to be done on spec (and final-quality, so no more session work if it went). It was mostly the singers that continued to make money. Most of the jingles I heard about were buyouts as far as any musicians were concerned so goodbye residuals too. I guess I deviated from the thread topic, huh? Sorry! Do you remember if Randy Bernsen was playing guitar with Zawinul when you saw him? I did some playing with him back in the 80s or early 90s (it's all a blur!). He's a Florida guy who was buddies with Jaco from before Jaco was Jaco. I saw him a few years ago - he's still playing but his main gig is being a commercial pilot now!
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On the Bowl gig, Scott Henderson sat in at the last minute for Joe's regular guitarist at that time, Amit Chatterjee.

 

Scott used to play with Joe but then left when he wanted to completely change directions of his style and concentrate just on the Blues. I heard he was highly inspired by Robben Ford to make the switch.

 

Regarding jingles...oh yeah they put my friend through the ringer ! He'd work his ass off putting in a 14 hour marathon day composing, playing all the instruments and mixing a 20 second spot, thinking this is "exactly what they want", only to be told by the ad suit...you know I played it for everyone and the general consensus was, it imparts a feeling of negativity.....what ?! :facepalm:

 

Then he'd have to start over. He had the patience of a saint. I don't know how he did it...other then it was his gig. He made great money but now that the whole scene has pretty much disappeared for him he's told me a few times...I don't think it was worth it.

 

They wanted every last drop of blood, sweat and tears. His work was of the highest standard -playing/writing/ production/ recording quality, everything was impeccable, he was a wizard in the studio but all that mattered was if the one main suit liked it or not.

 

wow that's quite a career change for Randy !

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

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My recording engineer days we did a lot if jingle work to pay the bills. In general only the writer/arranger from the jingle house would be at the sessions because time is money and they had a lot of work to get done. Day one would be tracking with some of the best studio guys in town. They for us engineer we'd be there till the wee hours making up the master reel of the keeper takes. Next day was studio singers to do the vocals minus the radio station ID the commercials would be for. After lunch break the singers would come back and they sing all the radio station ID's and closing tag, now that got boring to listen to. In two days they did a package of about 4 or 5 different commercials and put vocals and radio ID's on for about 100 stations.

 

One of my favorite messes that happened with a jingle for McCulloch chainsaws and only doing one jingle. Day one a small group of session players I think Ben Benay was the guitarist. We got sounds for all instruments and they cut the track pretty much in one or two takes. Then Ben laid down a acoustic part and whole tracking session done in about fifteen minutes. I remember the players were asking the arranger if he was sure that's all he wanted and he said that's it thanks and you guys can take off.

 

Day two lead vocal for the jingle. Besides the arranger some people from McCulloch were there. Then the guy shows up in a bright green and spangled cowboy outfit and a big white cowboy hat. I don't think he'd ever been in a studio before he was all grins and saying hello to every one. I guess he was some local country singer that was popular somewhere in the South. Well we showed him into the studio and explain the mic' setup and ready to go. Well it's disaster after disaster , he missed his entrance, he's out of time, his pitch was screwed, and the more takes the worse it got. Then the singer was not looking good he was so embarrassed. We recorded the track took about 15 minutes getting an acceptable vocal for one jingle took about four hours. By the time that session end everyone in the studio was singing that dam song. Even today I still remember the lyric.... You're in luck when you got a McCulloch chainsaw... ya got power by the hour in your hands.... I think everyone felt sorry for that singer and people from McCulloch were coming out of the control room trying to figure out who was going to get the blame for using that singer. What's scary is I actually heard that commercial on TV once.

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As anyone who followed them from the beginning or was a later fan knew, the textures and sounds Joe Z got out of 1976 analog technology are unsurpassed from a creative musical standpoint.

As a huge Weather Report fan, no thread about them seems to go without me mentioning that Joe Z almost single-handedly shaped the way I *hear* and approach KB sounds. :thu::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Two questions - what is, or where is it coming from, the effect that sounds somewhat like a screeching bird on Badia at the 1:06:51 mark ? Joe turns briefly as to engage something that maybe is that effect ? Also, what is he plucking with his LH during this sequence as well?

 

 

I can't say for sure about the screeching bird, but when I saw them supporting the 8:30 album there were a bunch of sound effects that came from tape machines at FOH. And is the plucked instrument a mbira or just a large kalimba?

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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Being in this mode for the last day or so, I watched the film "Jaco" in its entirety last night. I could only find it with the Spanish sub-titles. Perhaps some of you have already seen it as it's been out since 2015.

 

It's long and wanders into OT quite a bit - that for me made it drag on a bit long- but there was a lot of info I didn't know. Much of it depressing. It didn't put Joe Z in the most supportive light...to say the least.

 

I did enjoy the background on his life and the diversity of his early influences growing up in South Florida. A lot of great grooves, music and visuals of the era. A simpler time.

 

What a genius mind, talent, tortured soul and the most tragic...what a waste, gone at 35.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PZL4Fd6ZMI

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love this music. Thanks for pointing us to this concert, Dave, I will finish watching it later. Yes, what a wonderful and also sad and tragic figure Jaco was. I've seen that film too. I wonder if there are better meds for his condition now - I kind of think there are. Imagine achieving such great heights and then falling so far. At least we still have this thrilling music to listen to.

 

 

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Richard, Long Time! Wow it's been over three years since you posted ! Hope all is well. I see you're now residing in one my favorite spots in the world. I sold my Yamaha S6 in 2006 to someone up on the island.

 

Are you playing much ? Have you ever run into Sax player John Gross ? I thought I heard he was living there or maybe Portland. Anyway, good to hear from you. :wave:

 

Yes regarding Jaco, he was diagnosed as bi-polar. I don't know enough about the condition or the research, to comment but I would think some type of progress would've been made since then.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't think Bipolar should relegate anyone to either "a waste of their life" or a death sentence.

 

Jaco was murdered. If not for that particular interaction with his killer, he would likely be with us today.

The film flashed about a 1/2 second slide saying it was a homicide and no other indication of cause of death. Truly dismaying.

 

Jaco's killer was charged with 2nd degree murder and pled down to manslaughter and served 20% of a 20 month jail sentence.

 

I know Jaco had mental health issues and probably other issues but it disturbs me that he seems to be relegated to his fate by being grouped in with those who truly wasted their lives through suicide or overdose.

 

Dave, this isn't to criticize anything you said which I basically agree with but I thing the broader viewpoint that he somehow was destined to his fate is what I disagree with.

J a z z P i a n o 8 8

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Montage8 | CP300 | CP4 | SK1-73 | OB-6 | Seven

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I don't think Bipolar should relegate anyone to either "a waste of their life" or a death sentence.

 

Jaco was murdered. If not for that particular interaction with his killer, he would likely be with us today.

The film flashed about a 1/2 second slide saying it was a homicide and no other indication of cause of death. Truly dismaying.

 

JP88, I hear you. I have no real understanding of bipolar, so I'm just giving my 2 cents worth here.... The way it looked to me was that he committed "suicide by bouncer". He told his friend he didn't want to be here anymore, and he found a way to not be here. I wish it were otherwise, and yes, that bouncer committed a crime, but I think manslaughter was the correct crime to charge him with, not murder, which would have meant he had a preconceived plan to kill Jaco, which I don't think was the case.

 

As I understand it, the meds don't put humpty dumpty back together completely. I'm sure they help, and I hope they're getting better, but like that psychiatrist said, a lot of people have trouble staying on those meds.

 

Again, just my layman view, worth about 2 cents.

 

 

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Richard, Long Time! Wow it's been over three years since you posted ! Hope all is well. I see you're now residing in one my favorite spots in the world. I sold my Yamaha S6 in 2006 to someone up on the island.

 

Are you playing much ? Have you ever run into Sax player John Gross ? I thought I heard he was living there or maybe Portland. Anyway, good to hear from you. :wave:

 

Yes regarding Jaco, he was diagnosed as bi-polar. I don't know enough about the condition or the research, to comment but I would think some type of progress would've been made since then.

 

Hi, Dave I'm doing ok, thanks. Not playing much, partly because of covid, and partly because there's just not much work available on Vancouver Island. Not for me, at least. I don't worry about it any more. I'm trying to maintain a "whatever happens is cool" attitude.

 

I've never met John Gross. I just googled him, his website says he lived in Portland, Oregon, and moved to Vancouver in 2016. I don't get over to Vancouver much, I mostly stay here on Vancouver Island. Similar names, but geographically completely different - I live in the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island; the city of Vancouver is a 2-hour ferry ride away on the mainland.

 

I have friends in Vancouver but don't get over there much, and I haven't heard of John Gross doing anything there, but that doesn't mean he's not doing stuff.

 

How about you, playing much?

 

Be well.

 

 

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By the way, my "Brush With Geatness" regarding Jaco, is that I went to Berklee in Boston in the summer of 1975 or 1976, I think, just for the summer courses, about 2 months, July and August I guess. While I was there, I went to a little pub to see Pat Metheny's group, which was the Bright Size Life group with Jaco and Bob Moses. I think it was Poo's Pub. and I remember it cost $1, and that there about 10 or 20 people there. I was knocked out, because I was enjoying Bright Size Life at that time. I also got to meet Pat Metheny in a restaurant across from Berklee. I know, big deal, right? :-)

 

By the way, that was one thing that I didn't quite understand about that Jaco film. Although they did play a brief track from Bright Size Life at some point in the film, they never mentioned Jaco's stint with Pat, which to me, was an important chapter in his journey - it was a few months before his time in Weather Report.

 

 

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I used to play with John Gross from time to time here. He was born in the Valley and I remember him saying, I don't want to die in the San Fernando Valley. He was really burned out on LA in general.

 

When I saw him and drummer Billy Mintz at a little club in Portland awhile back, before Billy made the move back to NYC, at the time John said he had a couple steady nights in Victoria. I thought he said he was going to move there.

 

He's a great and inventive player. Steeped in the tradition but leans more towards outside/avant garde type playing, yet still lyrical and accessible.

 

I'm semi-retired , part by choice and the other half, the scene has dried up for me. Or at least any type of gigs I'll accept anymore - no more pop, rock or playing behind singers that's masquerading as a Jazz gig.. I'm fortunate to be in that position after 42 years here. I also feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

 

Still doing a lot of practicing, got in four and half hours yesterday. That was a lot and rare for me these days, I usually average more like two to three hours a day. Working more on Classical music these days although still writing my own lines/melodies and voicings out in my notebooks. I try to write at least 8 bars everyday.

 

Great to see you post again and connect a little. You take care and best.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Richard, I'm listening to your sound cloud page. Sounding great ! Enjoyed the Bud tune in particular, one of my favorites. Nice playing and the Trio is great ! Are those guys that live in Victoria ?

 

Thanks, Dave!

 

Those are Toronto guys, Neil Swainson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. I made a cd with them back in 2003 when I still lived in Toronto. They're great players, among Toronto's best, I was lucky to get them. I actually have known Neil for a long time, we both grew up in Victoria BC. He's lived in Toronto since 1976, and is an A-list Toronto player, he's played with everyone. He's one of those people that had an enormous natural talent, and also the work ethic and ambition to achieve his goal. And also a grounded personality that didn't get side tracked by alcohol, drugs, or any other nonsense.

 

I didn't make any money from that recording of course, but I'm glad I did it, it was a great experience, and I got a bit of airplay out of it on some jazz radio in Toronto. It was a 'now or never' thing.

 

 

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Oh yeah, those guys are Jazz Royalty to the nth degree ! Like you said, they've played and recorded with everyone.

 

No offense to Victoria locals but I thought, before who you revealed who they were -- damn those guys sound top level, A-list, maybe I'll move to Victoria and just hold jam sessions at the house. :laugh:

 

Yes, every recording/CD I've made has cost me money. But I've never regretted one dollar I've spent on them.

 

Some musicians I know call them vanity recordings/CDs but I prefer to look at it like -- however low I've sunk, whoring myself by playing whatever kind of crap music /demeaning gig I've had to do in my life...to quote Ira Gershwin, "they can't that away from me".

 

You'll always have that documentation. ;)

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh yeah, those guys are Jazz Royalty to the nth degree ! Like you said, they've played and recorded with everyone.

 

No offense to Victoria locals but I thought, before who you revealed who they were -- damn those guys sound top level, A-list, maybe I'll move to Victoria and just hold jam sessions at the house. :laugh:

 

Yes, every recording/CD I've made has cost me money. But I've never regretted one dollar I've spent on them.

 

Some musicians I know call them vanity recordings/CDs but I prefer to look at it like -- however low I've sunk, whoring myself by playing whatever kind of crap music /demeaning gig I've had to do in my life...to quote Ira Gershwin, "they can't that away from me".

 

You'll always have that documentation. ;)

 

Yeah, absolutely.

 

By the way, I should mention that there are a few very talented young (and old/older) musicians here in Victoria. Just not enough to go around, if you know what I mean. I would guess it's like that in most smaller places - talented and ambitious younger musicians tend to move to the bigger cities where the work and opportunity is.

 

 

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