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JAZZ ALBUM BRIEFS

July 27, 1986|LEONARD FEATHER

"THIS IS THIS." Weather Report. Columbia C40280.

This is also the end of Weather Report as we have known it. The group's 15th album is its swan song. Wayne Shorter has long since gone off on his own, leading a quartet (also recently concertizing, and taping a live LP in Europe, with Michel Petrucciani and Jim Hall). Joe Zawinul's future albums will be labeled Weather Update.

Future Zawinul excursions probably will sound much like the first track on each side of "This Is This," since they make prominent use of a guitar (Carlos Santana), an instrument that will replace Shorter's saxophone in the new scheme of things.

In fact, there is precious little to be heard of Zawinul's 15-year partner. Over the years, his contributions have been growing, so to speak, shorter and shorter; here he seems to be totally absent on several tracks, and is prominent only on "Jungle Stuff, Part I," composed by the percussionist Mino Cinelu.

Santana contributes earthy emotion to "Man With the Copper Fingers." Zawinul's "I'll Never Forget You," dedicated to the memory of his parents, achieves a beautifully sorrowful mood.

The quirky line of "Update" and the hypnotic "China Blues" stand out in a set that doesn't quite achieve the creative level of his recent solo LP, "Dialects." 3 1/2 stars.

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