Heavy Weather is the eighth album by Weather Report, released in 1977 through Columbia Records. The release originally sold about a half million copies which would prove to be the band's most commercially successful album. Some consider it to be Weather Report's best album artistically as well. Heavy Weather received an initial 5 star review from Down Beat magazine and went on to easily win jazz album of the year by the readers of that publication. It is the band's second album with bassist Jaco Pastorius. On Black Market, Pastorius played on two of the seven tracks, but here he is a full member of the band.
Featuring the jazz standard "Birdland", the album is one of the best-sellers in the Columbia jazz catalog. Heavy Weather is considered a landmark album in the jazz-rock or fusion movement of the 1970s. Its opening track, "Birdland", was a significant commercial success, something not typical of instrumental music. The Birdland melody had been performed live by the band as part of Dr Honoris Causa, which was from Zawinul's eponymous solo album. A striking feature of Birdland is Pastorius picking harmonics on his fretless bass, although recordings exist of live performance of the theme prior to Pastorius joining the band when it was purely a keyboard section.
The album cover by Lou Beach features a fedora drawn in the center of the design.
Dan Oppenheimer in a June 1977 review for Rolling Stone felt the band had moved from their earlier music, losing a lot of the space, melodies and airy feel that marked them out from other jazz rock bands, but gaining a new bassist who "has been instrumental in developing their busier, talkative style", and that while their music previously "went up and up only; becoming more ethereal as it went; the new bottom makes all the difference in the world".
Richard Ginell commented in a retrospective review for Allmusic that it was released "just as the jazz-rock movement began to run out of steam", however he felt that "this landmark album proved that there was plenty of creative life left in the idiom."