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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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Miroslav Vitous – Music of Weather Report

Miroslav Vitous (double bass, keyboards): Gary Campbell (soprano and tenor saxophone): Roberto Bonisolo (soprano and tenor saxophones): Aydin Esen (keyboards): Gerald Cleaver (drums): Nasheet Waits (drums)

Recorded March and May 2010, February and March 2011, Universal Syncopations Studios

ECM 377 2956 [52:47]

 

 

Scarlet Woman Variations

Seventh Arrow

Multi Dimension Blues 2

Birdland Variations

Multi Dimension Blues 1

Pinocchio

Acrobat Issues

Scarlet Reflections

Multi Dimension Blues 3

Morning Lake

 

Remembering Weather Report was released back in 2009 on ECM. The disc under review also remembers the group in which Miroslav Vitous was so illustrious a member but does so via the medium of reflections on original tunes and a sequence of brisk, brief Vitous compositions.

Given that Vitous employs two drummers (Gerald Cleaver and Nasheet Waits) and two soprano/tenor players, in the shape of Campbell and Bonisolo you’d expect plenty of sonic colour and rhythmic charge. That’s certainly a strong element. Scarlet Woman Variations features the front line’s coiling phrases in this airy opus whilst Seventh Arrow is a funkier, harder edged Bop piece, with the drummers desperately busy, and Aydin Esen’s keyboards tinkling à la Zawinul.

Yet those intercessionary Vitous pieces sound strangely superficial; Multi Dimension Blues 2 is a raunchy blues thrash but seems contextually devoid of significance in the programme. Vitous has an extended solo on Wayne Shorter’s Pinocchio where his agile, occasionally nasal-toned bass playing can be admired. It’s a pity that Vitous’ Scarlet Reflections is so brief, as its slower and balladic profile brings out – via a ‘sustain’ keyboard and a constant sonic interplay - an intriguing sonority. The subtle patterns and coloration of Morning Lake reflect well on Vitous and his authoritative band – the saxes’s allusive figures twisting and coiling.

I don’t feel this latest disc quite on the imaginative level of that earlier disc. The unevenness of the brief vignette pieces and the occasionally unremitting elements enshrined in the two-man sax and two-drum team can constrict as much as release. A bit of a hit-and-miss album, all in all.

Jonathan Woolf





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