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Joe Zawinul

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Joe Zawinul

Josef Erich Zawinul (born July 7, 1932 in Vienna, Austria) is one of the front runners in the development of jazz fusion along with Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Miles Davis. Best known as the founder of the band Weather Report, with Wayne Shorter, he currently heads the ensemble called the Zawinul Syndicate.

Zawinul, along with Corea, was one of the first to integrate electric pianos and early synthesizers such as Bob Moog's minimoog into jazz. He is still a prominent artist and composer in the jazz community.

During a nine-year stint on keyboard with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Zawinul wrote the hit "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." He also composed "Walk Tall" and "Country Preacher," the latter a tribute to U.S. Civil Rights Movement leader Rev. Jesse Jackson. In this title cut to the quintet's popular 1969 album release, Austrian-born Zawinul demonstrated a sophisticated and intimate understanding of the African/African-American concept of cool, of motion and interval. When "Country Preacher" debuted at a live recording session in Chicago at Jackson's Operation Breadbasket, it elicited enthusiastic cheers of immediate recognition from the mostly African-American audience.

Zawinul also wrote the title track of Miles Davis's popular 1969 album In a Silent Way.

Zawinul's biggest commercial success came from his composition Birdland, a 6-minute opus featured on Weather Report's 1977 album Heavy Weather. Birdland is one of the most recognizable jazz pieces of the '70s, covered by many prominent artists from The Manhattan Transfer to Maynard Ferguson. Even Weather Report's version received significant mainstream radio airplay — unusual for them — and served to convert many new fans to music which they may never have heard otherwise.

Trivia

Zawinul grew up in Landstraße, Vienna, where he went to school with the late former Austrian Federal President Thomas Klestil. Zawinul emigrated to the United States in the late 1950s.

Brian Eno's instrumental "Zawinul/Lava" is clearly named in his honour.

John McLaughlin's instrumental "Jozy" is also a tribute to Zawinul.

External links

da:Joe (Josef) Zawinul de:Joe Zawinul it:Joe Zawinul

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