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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke



Recorded California 1975 - 1976.




Wayne Shorter - soprano sax, tenor sax, lyricon; Joe Zawinul - Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Yamaha Grand Piano, Oberheim Polyphonic Synthesizers, ARP 2600; Alphonso Johnson - electric bass, Charles Le Boe electric bass, Gertu; Jaco Pastorius - Fender electric bass ( 2,6 ); Narada Michael Walden - drums ( 1, 2 ); Chester Thompson - Ludwig drums - ( 3, 7 ); Alejandro Neciosup Acuna - congas, percussion ( 2-5 & 7 ); Don Alias - percussion (1, 6 ).

1. Black Market
2. Cannon Ball
3. Gibraltar
4. Elegant People
5. Three Clowns
6. Barbary Coast
7. Herandu

"Black Market" was the sixth studio album recorded by the band Weather Report. It proved to be highly significant in the history of this group in several ways. With this session the music seemed to become much heavier,more studio based and much more reliant on electronics, both in terms of sound generation and also in the shaping of acoustic tones. The other major change in the music comes with the appearance of the virtuoso bassist Jaco Pastorius as a player on "Cannon Ball" and as a player and composer on "Barbary Coast".

The title track is a driving piece notable for the blending of Shorter's lyricon and saxophones and for his forceful soprano solo. His work here is a continuation of the style to be heard on the band's previous release ( " Tale Spinnin' " ). " Cannon Ball " is Joe Zawinul's tribute to his friend and former employer Cannonball Adderley, who had recently passed away. This is an altogether gentler tune and has a memorable melody section which is at times quite wistful. Wayne Shorter contributes some highly effective passages on the tenor saxophone this time.

The other tracks are all of a similar level of interest, "Gibraltar" is particularly atmospheric and " Elegant People" contains some tenor playing which befits the title. Of the other musicians featured Alphonso Johnson is universally first class, both in solo and accompanying roles. It was only his decision to form a band with Billy Cobham and George Duke which allowed Pastorius to finally achieve his desire and join the band. Although Pastorius has now risen to legendary status, at the time of this record I would consider it very much a matter of taste as to who was the better suited bass player for the group ( both are excellent ) . The various percussionists and drummers contribute admirably throughout this disc. This is a welcome reissue of a most enjoyable and influential recording.

Dick Stafford


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