Forecast: Tomorrow

Of the three jazz-fusion colossi that evolved from Miles Davis’ electric bands of the late ’60s: Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, and Weather Report, it is Weather Report that stayed the closest to actual jazz, and remains listenable today. This three-disc, one-DVD collection spans the group’s 1971-1986 history and throughout, the sounds, whether earthy or ethereal, are rooted deeply in jazz, swing, R&B and Afro-Cuban rhythms swathed in innovative instrumentation and melody. The dual heart of the group was the pairing of European electronic keyboard maestro Joseph Zawinul and African-American jazz saxophonist supreme Wayne Shorter. The two always surrounded themselves with brilliant rhythm players, the most famous of whom, bassist Jaco Pastorius, became as identified with the band’s group identity as the two frontmen. The “bonus” DVD is of a 1978 concert in Offenbach, Germany, and shows the Pastorius-era band at the peak of its nearly-magical powers. A great introduction for newcomers, or an indispensable compilation for those of us who haven’t yet replaced our vinyl editions. Includes a Grammy-worthy 100-page booklet, too.