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Weather Report
Sportin’ Life (March 1985)

Weather Report — Sportin’ Life (March 1985)

          Weather Report — Sportin’ Life (March 1985)
•» Album vyšlo v USA, Evropě, v Izraeli, na Filipínách, Ve Venezuele, na Novém Zélandu a pochopitelně v Japonsku.
•» While much of Sportin’ Life was conceived and sequenced in Zawinul’s home, Zawinul told Woodard that this tune was a studio effort.
•» “There is nothing changed except that we're not going to tour with this record immediately.” — Joe Zawinul                          © JazzFest Berlin 2005 / Motiv: Joe Zawinul Foto: Promo
Location: New York City, New York, United States
Album release: March 1985
Record Label: Columbia
Duration:     39:09
••   All tracks composed by Joe Zawinul; except where indicated
Tracks:
1 "Corner Pocket"     5:46
2 "Indiscretions"     4:05
3 "Hot Cargo"     4:41
4 "Confians" (Cinelu)     5:07
5 "Pearl On the Half Shell" (Shorter)     4:06
6 "What's Going On" (Renaldo Benson, Alfred Cleveland, Marvin Gaye)     6:29
7 "Face on the Barroom Floor" (Shorter)     3:59
8 "Ice–Pick Willy"     5:00
Personnel:
Weather Report:
•» Josef Zawinul — Keyboards
•» Wayne Shorter — Saxophones
•» Omar Hakim — Drums, background vocals on Confians
•» Victor Bailey — Bass, background vocals on Confians
•» Mino Cinélu — Percussion, lead vocal and acoustic guitar on Confians
Guests:
•» Bobby McFerrin — Vocalist (tracks 1, 3, 5, and 8)
•» Carl Anderson — Vocalist (tracks 1, 3, and 8)
•» Dee Dee Bellson — Vocalist (tracks 1, 3, and 8)
•» Alfie Silas — Voice (tracks 1, 3, and 8)
•» Original Release: Columbia Columbia FC 39908
•» Date Recorded: Fall 1984
•» Date Released: March 1985
•» Produced by: Zawinul/Wayne Shorter
•» Recorded and mixed at: Crystal Recording, Hollywood, California
•» Additional recording at: The Music Room, Pasadena, California
•» Engineer: Howard Siegel
•» Assistant Engineers: Matt Pakucko, Jim McMahon
•» Additional Engineering: Bernie Fromm, Peter Kelsey
•» Mastered at: Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, California
•» Special Thanks: Dr. George Butler, Robert Margouleff, James Swanson, Howard Burke, Jacquiline Bissley, Beau Halfon, John Branca, Gary Stiffelman, Maureen Woods, Bruce Eisenberg
•» Album Artwork: Jerry McDonald
•» Art Direction: Tony Lane/Nancy Donald
•» Photography: Hideo Kawahara, Tokyo, Japan
•» Exclusive Representation: Corvalan–Condliffe Management, Santa Monica, California
AWARDS
Billboard Albums
•» 1985 Sportin Life    The Billboard 200      #191
•» 1985 Sportin Life    Top Jazz Albums      #13
CREDITS
•» Carl Anderson Vocals
•» Victor Bailey Bass
•» Dee Dee Bellson Vocals
•» Renaldo Benson Composer
•» Mino Cinélu Composer, Percussion
•» Al Cleveland Composer
•» Marvin Gaye Composer
•» Omar Hakim Drums
•» Bobby McFerrin Vocals
•» Wayne Shorter Composer, Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Saxophone
•» Howard Siegel Engineer
•» Alfie Silas Vocals
•» Joe Zawinul Composer, Keyboards, SynthesizerReview
Author: Milan Asadurov
••   For Weather Report's fourteenth album, the line–up remained the same as for the previous two albums except for percussion, where Mino Cinelu replaced Jose Rossy. ••   Like Rossy, Cinelu was an Omar Hakim recruit. Born in Martinique in 1957 and raised in France, Cinelu played in a band with his brothers before moving to New York in 1979, where he led his own band, the Mino Cinelu Ensemble. In 1981 he joined Miles Davis' return–from–retirement band in 1981, staying until late 1983. He then joined Weather Report, and has since carved out a successful career playing in a variety of contexts.
••   Prompted by Josef Woodard to describe the concept behind Sportin' Life, Zawinul said: “The band last year played as great as ever. We went to Europe to all these resort places. When you see the album cover with the color and everything, you're immediately going to get the message. The sportin' life, easy goin', maybe a little hoodlumism, a little gamblin', women, hangin' out... that's what the whole album is about, the easy life in the good places where people like to go. Palm trees, ocean, places like the French Riviera, where we spent time last summer. Originally, we wanted to have an album cover with a collage of postcards. That's what the music is supposed to be, an international resort album, something really hip.” [Mus85]
••   http://www.milanasadurov.com/••   Sportin’ Life was in part the product of a new technology that revolutionized synthesizers and electronic musical instruments: MIDI. The Musical Instrument Digital Interface is a standardized way of transmitting and receiving information between electronic musical instruments. Prior to MIDI, various electronic instrument manufacturers had begun devising their own proprietary ways of connecting their instruments. But by 1982, when MIDI was originally proposed, it was clear that a standard would benefit all manufacturers. The first MIDI–equipped keyboards came on the market in 1983, and by 1986 virtually all electronic music instruments sold had MIDI connections.
••   In simplified terms, MIDI allows you to transmit the keys pressed on one MIDI–compatible keyboard to another MIDI–compatible instrument. Furthermore, computers can be equipped with a MIDI interface and sequencer software, enabling the computer to record what is played on a keyboard, and to subsequently modify it and play it back on any other MIDI device. A sequencer is somewhat analogous to a tape recorder, except that a sequencer records the notes played as opposed to the sounds those notes create. For Zawinul, the early MIDI devices and software meant he could improvise and record multi–instrument MIDI sequences that could be edited later, thereby allowing him to completely realize his compose–by–improvisation composing method.••   Zawinul told Woodard, “The last song [‘Ice–Pick Willy’] was the first song I ever played with MIDI. The only thing that was done was editing, and Wayne overdubbed, Omar overdubbed the cymbal and I added the voices at the end and that’s it. I personally didn’t do any overdubs. Same thing with ‘Indiscretions.’ ‘Hot Cargo’ was totally on MIDI; the only overdubs were Wayne on the melody and Mino on the Simmons drums. This is the way to do it; it is inexpensive and it is totally spontaneous, towards total improvisation. That’s what it’s all about.” [Mus85]
••   By the time Sportin’ Life hit the streets in the spring of 1985, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter had decided it was time for a break. When Zawinul and Shorter spoke to Woodard in March, he started off by asking them, “I should begin by asking about the status of Weather Report as a musical entity. Let’s dispel any unfounded rumors. There’s been talk of solo projects in the works.”
••   Shorter: Yeah, that’s what we’re doing–solo projects, and a lot of things, whatever we feel like we can do. If we continue to tour and make records with Weather Report after fourteen years, still there’s a wealth of things–musically and otherwise–that we might just let go by the wayside. I’ll tell you–I’m fifty-one.
••   Zawinul: That’s all, Wayne?
••   Shorter: I’m going to be fifty–two coming up. My whole music room is full of music papers and a couple of comic books I drew. And Josef’s got drawers of music, papers and cassettes.
••   Zawinul: In all, I’ve got 2,000 pieces of music which I’ve done nothing with. Wayne has written music I remember from two years ago [turns to him] when you went to Brazil, you had ninety pages of orchestrated music. If we keep on going like we’ve been doing, in other words, making records–as well as they might be–and touring all the time, we will be sixty–two and by that time I’m going to have 5,000 pieces of music and Wayne might have 400 pages written, and it is dead.
••   Let’s say Weather Report is a hobby we can no longer afford to continuously just do. There are other things at this stage of our lives and we have to branch out. I think we made a great record, but I think we finally can afford to do something we want to do. Wayne hasn’t done a solo album in eleven years. I haven’t done one in sixteen years. He’s in the studio right now. I’m also in the studio ready for a solo project.
••   But as for the status of the band–it’s still Weather Report, with Omar Hakim, Victor Bailey, Mino Cinélu, Wayne and myself, still existent. We’re still going to make records with this band; however, momentarily, we will not travel with the band. I’ll go out in the summer to Europe for four week by myself–just me and my synthesizers. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for many years, and if I don’t do it now, I ain’t gonna do it. And now the technologies are such that I can go out as a full orchestra myself.
••   It’s good; we need that rest from each other as a band and for the people also. The band has been better than ever in the last couple of years, as a working unit it’s been an inspiration–everybody’s listening to each other. However, that’s when you do something else. When you become a champion, that’s when you should more or less hang up the gloves for a minute and do something else. (excerpt) ••   http://www.weatherreportdiscography.org/sportin-life/     © •» Josef Erich "Joe" Zawinul 1932 – 2007 Oil on Canvas 14" x 11" by John Kilroy
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell;  Score: ***½
••   With de facto leader Joe Zawinul now even more set on a world music groove–oriented direction than ever, it is hard to place Weather Report even within the broad electric jazz — or fusion, if you must — category at this point. But forget labels; this is another superb WR album where the grooves percolate and thump along in an irresistible surge, rhythmic elements pouring in from the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East and the instrument designers at Yamaha, Korg, etc. There are more vocals than ever, mostly wordless chant by guests Carl Anderson, Bobby McFerrin and others, and there is a total departure in the form of an attractive folk–like song sung and played by the new percussionist/guitarist Mino Cinelu. Almost alone among synthesizer players, Zawinul took the trouble to learn how to swing on these instruments, and by Sportin' Life, he had become unstoppable. And Wayne Shorter? His beams of light are still around, as heard most hauntingly in a duet with Zawinul's synths on "The Face on the Barroom Floor." Yet Wayne's presence is just another color in Zawinul's multi–band palette, and as a result, their long partnership was coming to a close despite the still sky–high quality of their music.History (The Finale):
••   Despite Zawinul and Shorter's claims, Sportin' Life (1985) was in effect the last proper Weather Report record, as both were finding that the refreshing nature of other projects was more satisfying and generally felt that the band had run its course. ••   However, it turned out that Columbia Records was contractually owed one more Weather Report record, resulting in the 1986 creation of This Is This!
••   In comparison to previous records, This Is This! (1986) was assembled during gaps in various players' schedules (Zawinul has referred to the album having been put together on "holiday" time). With Omar Hakim now too busy with Sting to play on more than one of the album's tracks, Zawinul recruited Peter Erskine to play the rest. ••   Cinelu and Bailey were both flown in for a few days to record: both also contributed one composition each, with the remainder being written by Zawinul.
••   Significantly, Shorter spent little more time on the project than Bailey or Cinelu, contributed no compositions at all, and was not even present on many of the album's tracks: Zawinul attempted to compensate for this by bringing in guitarist Carlos Santana to contribute. On release the album received a disappointing review from the critics (including several pannings) and band members have subsequently admitted that it was a substandard release.
Website: http://weatherreportmusic.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/weatherreportmusic?feature=sub_widget_1
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Weather Report
Sportin’ Life (March 1985)

 

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