6 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Ndugu Leon Chancler was only with Weather Report for one album, the leadoff track on 1975’s Tale Spinnin’ gives a sense of the momentum he brought into the group. “Man in the Green Shirt” is a master class in drum technique. Chancler sails through the song like a bird over rapids, but even at lightning speed you can hear every individualized tap and click he’s making on his cymbals. That effortless precision is a recurring theme throughout the album, which is also boosted by the unerringly inventive bass playing of Alphonso Johnson. It’s almost impossible to imagine a piece as intricate as “Freezing Fire” being played by actual human beings, and yet there’s nothing robotic about Tale Spinnin’. The exciting thing about this moment in Weather Report’s history is that the musicians were reaching their athletic peak as virtuosos, but they hadn't yet discovered the studio technology that would let them alter and compose music in premeditated ways. Even though these songs sometimes achieve otherworldly states of expertise, the album always sounds like five guys playing live together in a room.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Ndugu Leon Chancler was only with Weather Report for one album, the leadoff track on 1975’s Tale Spinnin’ gives a sense of the momentum he brought into the group. “Man in the Green Shirt” is a master class in drum technique. Chancler sails through the song like a bird over rapids, but even at lightning speed you can hear every individualized tap and click he’s making on his cymbals. That effortless precision is a recurring theme throughout the album, which is also boosted by the unerringly inventive bass playing of Alphonso Johnson. It’s almost impossible to imagine a piece as intricate as “Freezing Fire” being played by actual human beings, and yet there’s nothing robotic about Tale Spinnin’. The exciting thing about this moment in Weather Report’s history is that the musicians were reaching their athletic peak as virtuosos, but they hadn't yet discovered the studio technology that would let them alter and compose music in premeditated ways. Even though these songs sometimes achieve otherworldly states of expertise, the album always sounds like five guys playing live together in a room.

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