(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
The great jazz-fusion band Weather Report, already in a class of their own with three brilliant studio albums and one stunning live album, but yet prime leaders Josef Zawinul and Wayne Shorter were embarking on a new direction, emphasizing on "funk" vamps and elongated jams, similar to what Miles and Carlos Santana were doing, so Weather Report and band that with every release since their eponymously named debut, were shifting from their psychedelic avant-garde style and slowly becoming a Funk induced jam band, and on the band's fifth release, Sweetnighter, the band did a complete turnaround and issued one of their greatest classics, but also alienated co-leader Mirolslav Vitous and drummer Eric Gavvitt in the process as well.
The newly found direction meant that the band had to substitute session musicians for Miroslav and Eric, as both were musicians whom were more "Jazz" influenced musicians and the direction was deemed unsuitable for both musicians.
Josef Zawinul would contribute two masterpieces to this album, the Funky "Boogie Woogie Waltz" and the often sampled (Rap) "125th Street Congress".
Wayne Shorter also on Sweetnighter contributed "Will" and "Non-Stop Home" which are similar to the songs he had written just prior to forming Weather Report with Zawinul, which musically had a more airy, ethereal quality to them.
On this recording, would signal the end of Eric's tenure with the band whom upon seeing an extra drummer setting up in his stead, had caused him to lose focus, and eventually pushing him to leaving music all together, rarely if ever playing drums again.
Recently re-released after being out of print for a number of years, Sweetnighter was the first of many re-releases of the band's earlier recordings, not to missed and considered along time favorite of many fans and jazz critics.