All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

333

Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate: 75

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
A gift. That's perhaps the most effective description of the late Josef (Joe) Zawinul and what he has given to the world of music. So it follows that on his 75th and final birthday, one of the pioneers of jazz fusion performed the music that would become the two-disc 75, his final recording.

Zawinul was born in Austria but moved to the United States, where he played with such luminaries as Maynard Ferguson and Cannonball Adderley. It was during his time with Adderley's band that Zawinul composed the often-covered "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," a favorite among jazz and blues enthusiasts. Zawinul then spent some time with Miles Davis, an association that led to "In a Silent Way." Zawinul brought the Wurlitzer and Fender-Rhodes electric pianos into the jazz mainstream. A founding member of the fusion juggernaut Weather Report, he later created the Zawinul Syndicate.

"Orient Express" kick starts this musical adventure. After an ominous introduction, the entire ensemble sizzles, particularly bassist Linley Marthe and drummer Paco Sery. Guitarist Alegre Correa and a trio of percussionists add to the stunning level of energy presented. Zawinul shows his skills on keyboards and vocoder, but it's the overall play of the band that sets this track in motion.

"Scarlet Woman" has an easygoing groove with a touch of funk. The congas are a powerful presence. Sery scores several rapid-fire strikes on the cymbals and later delivers some hard-charging rolls on the toms. Marthe's solo brings to mind another of Zawinul's associates, the late bassist Jaco Pastorius.

"Fast City / Two Lines" opens the second disc with the same level of energy that began the first. Correa's solo is framed by the percussion, along with more of Marthe's stunning bass, the friction high during his solo later in the song. Sabine Kabongo of Zap Mama fame adds a vocal scat, in addition to her percussion play.

After being treated to a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by the band, Zawinul is joined by fellow Miles Davis band and Weather Report alum Wayne Shorter. Soprano sax and keyboard perform a duet on "In a Silent Way."

Despite poor health, Zawinul continued to perform. This 75th birthday concert was recorded at a festival in Lugano, Switzerland, on July 7, 2007, about two months before he died of cancer. That he delivered such an exceptional performance is a testament to his talent and dedication in sharing his gift.

Track Listing: CD1: Introduction to Orient Express; Orient Express; Madagascar; Scarlet Woman; Zanza II; Cafe Andalusia. CD2: Fast City / Two Lines; Clario; Badia / Boogie Woogie Waltz; Happy Birthday; In a Silent Way; Hymn.

Personnel: Joe Zawinul: keyboards, vocoder; Sabine Kabongo: vocals, percussion; Alegre Correa: vocals, berimbau; Linley Marthe: bass; Paco Sery: drums, kalimba, vocals; Jorge Bezerra: percussion, vocals; Aziz Sahmaoui: percussion, vocals; Wayne Shorter: soprano saxophone (CD2#5).

Title: 75 | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Heads Up International

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
75

75

Heads Up International
2009

buy
 

75th

Kedar Entertainment Group
2008

buy
 

To You With Love

Kedar Entertainment Group
2008

buy
Brown Street

Brown Street

Heads Up International
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read 9 CD/LP/Track Review
9
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 19, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim CD/LP/Track Review
Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim
by Kevin Press
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Orientation CD/LP/Track Review
Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Romaria CD/LP/Track Review
Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "The Colours Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Soliloquy" CD/LP/Track Review Soliloquy
by Don Phipps
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "Beatrice" CD/LP/Track Review Beatrice
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Mercerville" CD/LP/Track Review Mercerville
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Clareia" CD/LP/Track Review Clareia
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 9, 2018