With 1985’s Sportin’ Life, Weather Report continued their late-career examination of various international scenes. Through the slow tribal rhythms of “Indiscretions,” the calypso steel drums of “Hot Cargo,” or the Brazilian motifs that surface on “Confians” (which features the vocals of percussionist Minu Cinélu), the album shows an effortless assimilation of world music. Upon its release, Joe Zawinul described it as a tropical travelogue 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.” That’s not to say that this album makes for passive listening by any means. “Corner Pocket,” “Pearl on the Half-Shell," and “Ice-Pick Willy” show Weather Report at their wily, byzantine best. What Zawinul was talking about was a belief that atmosphere and sensory pleasure are just as important as the notes being played. Sportin’ Life is an album that strikes a perfect balance between those values.