Wow, that's a surprise (for me anyway). I was also surprised to read that he was 75, although I should've had an idea, since I first became aware of him as pianist with Maynard's 1958 "Message from Newport" band.
This is something becoming all too common. I wonder who jazz history will look upon from the generation younger than Joe's, when they pass, as being in the same league as he and others who have passed in the last couple of years.
The man was a real powerhouse and contributing force in keeping jazz creative and vital. Sorry to see him go.
Oh no! Man I hate hearing this. I love Zawinul. Seen him many times. He was an absolute giant of music. I watched a bunch of his stuff on youtube the other night and was raving about how great he was to my friends. Thank you Joe for all the great music. RIP.
Joe was pretty much my favorite non-sax player in "jazz" although what he did was such a unique fusion it is hard to call it that. Joe was the life blood of Weather Report and in many ways I think he surpassed them with the Zawinul Syndicate. I always felt like I had boarded a space ship when I saw them, he would take off from the first beat and head OUT!!! For me it was probably the most monstrous groove machine on any planet. He combines the primitive and modern in the most perfect way. I loved his vocoder vocals too. Every show I saw him do from a few early Weather Report through a solo concert to the Syndicate were always amazing. I also saw him walk into the Jazz Workshop in Boston to watch Cecil Taylor (his favorite living pianist) one night. He stood right over his shoulder watching , clapping , cheering, he was one intense guy.
In spite of his popularity I really think he has hardly gotten the respect and acclaim he deserved.
I'm not sure of the year anymore, but it may have been '62 or '63 when Cannonball Adderley's Group played at the inauguration of the University of Illinois Assembly Hall. That's the first time I remember hearing his name and he was no less than amazing back then. As I recall, the group was a sextet and included Nat Adderley and Yusef Lateef as well as Joe. The "upside" of getting old is in that you are able to recall seeing some of the greats in person that the younger generation only knows from recordings and Youtube. Joe Zawinul is one of those great memories.
I always love hearing Zawinul's tune Hippodelphia from Cannonball's "Live at the club" recording. It was one of the first jazz records I had. Zawinul has to have been the most influential European-born musician in jazz (and he could swing!) I got to hear Weather Report with Jaco a few times, but Zawinul was what made that group have that sound.
What a bummer!!!! I feel like I grew up musically listening to him. 'Been listening to Weather Report all day.....through the whole catalog.....Joe was an amazing player and writer and arranger. Funky! Wonderful thematic development in his improvs and tunes. Joe had a voice that was instantly recognizable.....with equal parts bravado and beauty, cunning and spontaneity. The one and only. We miss ya Joe......
Today I asked David Baker for his thoughts on Joe.
He called him "A good friend" and said that "He died too young".
Mr. Baker also told me about how Joe, Cannonball, Nat, and some other guys from Cannonball's band would play classical music at Baker's house. After a while Joe would say in his thick accent, "Lets play some bebop."
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