(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Finally, a entire album by Weather Report's greatest line-up: Josef Zawinul on keyboards, Wayne Shorter on reeds, Jaco Pastorius on electric bass and Peter Erskine on drums with augmentation of percussion by Robert Thomas Jr. Night Passage is a return to a more jazz orientation on most of the songs, with the mix on each song being equal and no one was left to ponder on their contributions.
Night Passage is a wonderful album which begins with the lovely title track and segues into the ethereal "Dream Clock" which once again proves how great Wayne and Jaco really were in their prime. Wayne's only composition, "Port Of Entry" is one of the greatest songs that Wayne ever written for the band with his trade tenor sax playing is the highlight of the song.
Zawinul's ambient "Forlorn" is perhaps a leftover from the previous mixing disaster of an album Mr. Gone, but yet fits in with the gloomy, if not even professional album. Things pick up and add life to the remainder of the album, first with a cover of Duke Ellington's "Fast City", and then the band treads into Wayne's former world with the harp bop-ish "Fast City".
Jaco's wonderful, "Three Views Of A Secret" was his coda with the band and one of his most covered tunes. The ending track is Weather Report at their best, the bombastic "Madagascar", which would be the signature song and the ending to one of the greatest lineups that ever graced the Fusion era of Jazz.
With Night Passage, Peter and Jaco would leave the band to pursue further interest, and would leave Wayne and Josef to search for other talents.