Joe Zawinul - Electric Piano, Synthesizer; Wayne Shorter - Saxophone; Miroslav Vitous - Electric and Upright Bass; Dom Um Romao - Percussion; Greg Errico - Drums
Though it exudes an open and improvised feel, Sweetnighter could be listed right alongside I Sing the Body Electric as one of Weather Report's most studio-oriented records. After a week long recording session with heavy use of edits, overdubs, and guest musicians, a good half of the record would never receive an outing to the concert hall. However, two mammoth tracks emerged from the studio as if destined for the stage. Boogie Woogie Waltz and 125th Street Congress both steamrolled past the 12 minute mark to herald a new age of long distance funk. The plodding, searching, pulsating jams sprinkled with earthly and interstellar spices became strong pillars on which they tethered their live wanderings.
Shorter alone charts their course here, and as other band members make their entrance Zawinul leads the group through territories only slightly resembling familiar ground. This iteration of the band had a distinct ability to take in and serve out an entire piece in a passing moment and, in this way, brush aside strictures of the album oriented 70's in favor of the open road. The Philharmonic Hall outing finds them closer to the Sweetnighter sessions than any available, and yet the aroma is much more that of a future studio effort. Desirous of new and mysterious lands, Shorter and Zawinul seem to often be testing new routes with an incredibly willing crew behind them. Their on stage sound even becoming an instrument of it's own through Dinky Dawson's expert use of the PA and soundboard mixer.