Recorded and originally released in 1975, Tale Spinnin‘, Weather Report’s fifth studio album, is an overlooked gem that stands with anything recorded during the “jazz-rock fusion” era. On a range of fresh, intriguing originals by the band’s co-founders and principle composers, keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Zawinul’s pioneering interest in what we now call world music is in evidence, and his synthesizer sophistication is growing along with the available technology. Shorter’s work on soprano sax is more animated than on Weather Report’s previous two albums, and Alphonso Johnson brings his melodic bass to the fore.
Tale Spinnin’ was enthusiastically received by the press and the public. It garnered a five-star review in Down Beat magazine, whose readers also voted it 1975’s top album, and Weather Report band of the year. Audiophile magazines gushed at the state-of-the-art production values. And Weather Report began making major inroads with rock fans as well. As Rolling Stone wrote in a review upon the album’s original release, “Tale Spinnin’ sets up a hypnotic groove, loose and funky with more than a touch of Afro-Latin in the rhythm section and engaging melodic detail on top. . . Spinnin’ convinces once again that Weather Report is the most adventurous, meticulous and consistently stimulating band working in the electric-jazz idiom.”
Iconoclassic Records’ definitive reissue of Tale Spinnin’ includes all of the original LP package elements (including Robert Hurwitz’s liner notes), and adds a 1300-word essay by Zawinul biographer Curt Bianchi based on current interviews with Wayne Shorter, Alphonso Johnson, and Ndugu.