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Weather Report began to be referred to in media and by jazz fans as the "jazz group of thefuture". The group exhibited mastery of the elements of traditional jazz: improvisation, group interaction, creative compositions, and a solid foundation in the traditions of jazz music, combined with the modern elements of world music and pop music and the latest electronic instrumental developments.By the 1980, the Pastorius/Erksine version of Weather Report had broken up and later, Zawinul and Shorter parted ways to pursue their own projects. Joe Zwainul continues to record and perform his groove based improvisatory music with his band The Zawinul Syndicate.Wayne Shorter continued to record and compose new music throughout the 90s, some of which was highly structured, using electronic instruments and computerized sequencing of some musical materials. His latest projects combine all of his vast experiences in a more traditional jazz quartet format, using bass, drums, and piano plus soprano and tenor saxophone, exploring the very improvisatory concepts of the Miles Davis 1964-68 bands and early weather report groups. this group revisits some of shorter's compositions from the early days, as well as new works written recently for the group, which includes bassist john pattitucci, pianist danilo perez and drummer brian blade. this group is one of the most accomplished and masterful jazz groups performing today.Example: "Black Market" Weather ReportMahivishnu OrchestraJohn McLaughlin formed a group to explore his very rock-based electric jazz music,which also uses influences of Indian music. Often using odd meters in his compositions,this music is highly structured and extremely demanding. He used guitar and electricviolin as the main melodic instruments plus synthesizer, keyboards, electric bass anddrums to complete the group. This music features improvisations by McLaughlin,violinist Jerry Goodman (replaced later by Jean Luc Ponty), and keyboardist JanHammer. Drummer Billy Cobham became known for his powerful drumming and abilityto interact while keeping the complex beats of the odd meter time signatures. Along withTony William's Lifetime, the Mahivishnu Orchestra is probably the most rock influencedof the Fusion groups and was more likely to be found on the concert bill at Rock concertsthan at jazz festivals during this period. This group developed a large audience, crossingover to non-jazz fans with ease.McLaughlin also formed an acoustic fusion group called Shakti, which is very rooted inIndian musical traditions. Acoustic guitars, sitar (an traditional Indian stringedinstrument), tabla (an traditional Indian hand drum), and other instruments exploreimprovisatory styles influenced by jazz, rock and Indian music.
Herbie Hancock - HeadhuntersThe fusion music of Herbie Hancock was influenced by the funk bands of the 1970's. Using James Brown, Motown and other funk groups as a model, Hancock composed and developed music that was highly sophisticated while utilizing hard funk grooves. His hit "Chameleon" made the Headhunters well known and Hancock led very successful concert tours with this group, between his other acoustic jazz recordings and projects.