Weather Report was heavily influenced by Miles Davis, and the various influences from rock, soul, world beat, funk, blues and jazz.  The early band consisted of pianist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter with Miroslav on electric bass, Airto Moreira on percussion and Alphonse Mouzon on drums.  It was during this initial formation of the group that the musical style was more improvisational, much like the work of Miles Davis' "Witches Brew".  What makes the early Weather Report distinctive, is that they were a band driven to push the boundaries of music and to take risks in attempting to explore the unknown realms of their artistic expressions.

Zawinul and Shorter recorded solo albums in 1969 and 1970 that in retrospect were influential in germinating Weather Report, as noted by Michael Zipkin in BAM magazine (October 20, 1978 issue):

"In late summer 1969, just following the Bitches Brew sessions, Shorter recorded Supernova, a passionate, atmospheric album of sketches full of jungle-like percusson with polyrhythmic and tonal freedom.  Even more prophetic was Wayne's Odyssey of Oska, recorded a year later [on the same day, August 26, 1970, as Moto Grosso Feio], which was a highly visual series of tone poems tracking "the journey of your own soul" through the metaphorical signposts of "Wind," "Storm," "Calm," and "Joy." Significantly, percussionist Airto Moreira and the young Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous were on Supernova, and drummer Al Mouzon shared responsibilities with Billy Hart on Iska.   There first three players would appear with Shorter and Zawinul on Weather Report's first album in the spring of 1971.  Meanwhile, Zawinul was putting together his own prototypical canvas of impressionism on the Zawinul album. This, too, was an album of tone sketches:  evocative personal images of Josef's "grandfather's funeral on a cold winter day in an Austrian mountain village" ("His Last Journey"); his "first impressions of New York when he arrived here as a boy on a ship from France" ("Arrival in New York"); and "impressions of Zawinul's days as a shepherd boy in Austria" ("In A Silent Way").  Vitous played on the record, and Shorter contributed one tune.  With Herbie Hancock, Zawinul used a Rhodes piano, and with the aid of an echoplex and ring modulator, elicited hitherto unknown layers of sound that paved the way for future explorations with Weather Report."

There were a lot of musicians rotating with almost every album that was released.  Miroslav was part of group during its more expressive, free-form days.  As the group matured largely through the guidance of Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, the music became more melodic and had a greater mass market appeal.


Miroslav Vitous ~ Footer

Copyright © 2004-2005 Miroslav Vitous

home page contacts page site map page