Weather Report quiz question..

The classic WR lineup – Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius and Pete Erskine – performing Black Market in 1978. Wonderful piece, and one that I’ve used as a warm-up exercise in SOS rehearsal rooms for more years than I can remember…but here’s the question – what is remarkable about the clip below?

Here’s a clue – it’s Zawinul-related.. (my money’s on Wez to solve this one, or maybe Mark.. Jamie is perhaps just a bit too er, contemporary..

(..was just reading that, with the advent of new HD bittorrent technology, these grainy youtube clips will soon be a thing of the past – that’ll be great but occasionally these low-res vids have a charm all of their own – some of the scenes here look like the band are inhabiting a Rembrandt painting, especially the overhead shots of Zawinul at the keyboards, and the low-res haze makes Jaco look even more like some kind of Mayan deity than he usually does..)

UPDATE; If you want to figure it out yourself, don’t look in the comments. Somebody got there first..


4 thoughts on “Weather Report quiz question..

  1. This blog was transfered from Myspace and the comments didn’t make it, so I’ve transcribed the relevant ones in case anybody hasn’t figured out the answer…

    “Joe’s second tier keyboard,(above the Rhodes). It appears he’s programmed it in a reverse register or something?”

    Posted by Markle 11937


    “Impressive! You’re quite right of course. I’d heard that he used to do this from time to time, in order to ‘make things a little more interesting’, but I’ve never seen it close up before. He swtches it back the right way round after Wayne Shorter’s solo, which photobucket truncated as my 5 minutes was up.. Anyway, here’s to the Austrian nutcase..”

    “…something to do with the ARP 2600 having the capability to invert the voltage. Here’s the man himself in a 1977 Keyboard mag interview..

    “..Because it was a challenge for me to play in a mirrored system. It’s good for the mind. If you improvise on chords, for example, you’ve got to transpose, and your mind has to be very, very fast. I was recording one day at home on the inverted setup, and that’s when the song “Black Market” was put together. After listening to it, I played the melodies on the straight keyboard, and it didn’t sound as good as it did the mirrored way. Then I had to write the melody down and relearn it on the inverted keyboard, because at first it was improvised. On-stage, I play the first melody of the song with the right hand on the inverted keyboard, and the left hand accompanies on the Rhodes until after the first six notes into the bridge. Then the right hand plays the contrapuntal chord voicings on the polyphonic [Oberheim] synthesizer. The left hand continues the melody where the right hand stopped, putting a chord or two on the Rhodes into the spaces. It takes a little while to get used to thinking in the mirrored system. Only C and F# are the same as on the straight keyboard. B becomes C#, Bb becomes D, A becomes Eb, and so on. I also play chords on the bridge of “Black Market” on the Oberheim. The chord is going upwards and the melody is going downwards–in contrary motion. It’s beautiful to challenge yourself visually. It makes you play new things..”

    …See? Simple, really…”

  2. That’s incredible! …
    I get a pang of guilt when I hear anything from Heavy Weather – it’s the only thing I’ve ever stolen in my life. A friend loaned it me in 1978 and I went to some trouble to avoid returning it. It’s still in pretty good condition! I feel better already for confessing that.

  3. Very simple indeed…ha! Just like a bad right-handed drummer reversing the toms…PHOOEY! Joe’s kinky.
    Has there ever been a reverse grand piano? This question just occurred to me…hmmm. I’ve never seen one and if I’ve heard of one, it’s long forgotten.

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