View Full Version : R.I.P. Josef Erich Zawinul :bigcry:

Sep 11th, 2007, 11:59 AM
Sorry if its already been posted

Josef Erich Zawinul (born July 7, 1932 in Vienna, Austria, died September 11, 2007 in Vienna) was a jazz keyboardist and composer. He was one of the front runners in the development of jazz fusion along with Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and Miles Davis. Best known as the founder of the band Weather Report, with Miroslav Vitous and Wayne Shorter with whom he had previously recorded two albums as part of Davis' studio band, in his final years he headed the ensemble called The Zawinul Syndicate.

Zawinul, along with Corea and Hancock, was one of the first to integrate electric pianos and early synthesizers like the ARP 2600 in 1973's Sweetnighter. Unlike Hancock, he didn't care much for the Minimoog. He was among the first to use a Fender-Rhodes with a Phasing effect and a Wah-Wah pedal. His creativity and attention to detail resulted in a very contemporary and modern sound. He is still a prominent artist and composer in the jazz community. He also has played the kalimba, on Weather Report's Mysterious Traveller and Mr. Gone. [1] [2]

Classically trained at the Vienna Conservatoire, Zawinul played in various broadcasting and studio bands before emigrating to the U.S. in 1959, where he played with Maynard Ferguson and Dinah Washington before joining the Cannonball Adderley Quintet in 1961.

During his nine-year stint on keyboards with Adderley, 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.

In the late 60s, Zawinul recorded with Miles Davis's studio band and helped create the sound of the new Jazz fusion. Among others he played on the album In a Silent Way, the title track of which he composed, and the landmark album Bitches Brew, for which he contributed the twenty-minute track "Pharaoh's Dance" which occupied the whole of side one. Zawinul is known to have played live with Davis only once, on July 10, 1991, shortly before Davis' death.

Zawinul's biggest commercial success [citation needed] 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.

:bigcry: His music was just so good for the soul

Sep 11th, 2007, 12:08 PM

Sep 11th, 2007, 12:11 PM
i bet you have never ever heard his music kittyking

Sep 11th, 2007, 12:14 PM
I have a couple of versions of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" on my ipod.

Thanks for posting this. :)

Sep 11th, 2007, 01:03 PM
yeah, posting a youtube link or something to his music might be good.

Sep 12th, 2007, 01:01 AM
i bet you have never ever heard his music kittyking

I grew up in a family that absolutely adored his music you idiot - theirs a reason why this is the first thread I've made about someone who died.
Go into a music shop, go into the Jazz section, listen to a thousand Jazz songs there and then pick out your top 10 favourites - you'll find that the at least 8 of these would have been songs composed by him.

Sep 12th, 2007, 01:03 AM
yeah, posting a youtube link or something to his music might be good.

He didnt ever make a video of any of his songs - his music's for the soul not for Dolly magazine

However I did find someone playing one of his songs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYqzu6NDUuM

Sep 12th, 2007, 01:03 AM
I have a couple of versions of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" on my ipod.

Thanks for posting this. :)


Sep 12th, 2007, 04:53 AM
one of the greatest groups of all time:


Sep 12th, 2007, 07:36 AM
I must admit I'm surprised that theres only 11 posts here :eek:

Sep 12th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Possibly the greatest album of all time

- Joe Zawinul heavily featured ...


I have that album! I played it while I was studying today, it seems to mean alot more today than yesterday though - I bet his funeral will go on for days, Its music that I'd like to played at my funeral :sad:

Edit: Oops forgot, its actually a record that I have of it - I dont think its available on CD

Sep 12th, 2007, 11:08 AM
Yes sir: it's heavily available on CD: with bonus tracks not available on the original album. A bloody masterpiece - the groove is just too damn hot man. :smoke:

Meh, sounds better on a record :p

But yea I think we both agree that its a must for every music collection :)

Sep 12th, 2007, 01:12 PM
I wish I was up more on Jazz but I'm not. However, I was reading about him and it's definitely a huge loss to the world of music. :sad:

Sep 12th, 2007, 09:09 PM
I saw Weather Report perform at the NY Jazz Festival and have never forgotten it. His genius will be missed in many quarters.