Wayne Shorter and Josef Zawinul were bandmates eleven years before they co-founded Weather Report; they played together in the Birdland Dream Band led by Maynard Ferguson. Shorter went on to join Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, while Zawinul moved over to Cannonball Adderley’s sextet & quintet. Zawinul came over to play alongside Shorter in the studio group that supported Miles Davis’ foray into jazz-rock and fusion with In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.
This excerpt from their 1976 appearance at Montreux features a tune written by the group’s new bassist, Jaco Pastorius, who had been with the group for just a couple months. Pastorius replaced Alphonso Johnson, splitting duties on Black Market, released the same year as this performance. Johnson had replaced original bassist Miroslav Vitouš in late 1973. As time wore on, Weather Report’s creative energies shifted from a Zawinul-Shorter polarity to a fractious Zawinul-Pastorius dynamic, but here the group is in near-peak form and Shorter shows he can blow the doors off a tune written by anyone.
And as a bonus, here’s the Shorter/Zawinul duet from that performance: