World Music Visionary
Enrique Torres | San Diegotitlan, Califas | 11/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly Joe Zawinul has left this plane of existence but he has left us a rich collection of his music. Considered by many to be a musical genius(I would concurr)he cut his jazz teeth by playing with bands led by Julian "Cannoball" Adderly, Why Am I Treated So Bad!, than moved on to begin his fusion period with Miles Davis, The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, formed his own group with Wayne Shorter,the great Weather Report Mysterious Traveller, Black Market and than went on to a solo career. Always the prolific composer, he was known early on in his career as Josef Zawinul, he created some great music in the jazz repertoire. He played piano and but was best know for his electric piano work that he often shared on single tracks with other electric keyboardists like Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. This disc features both Herbie Hancock and Zawinul, each playing electric piano. The first track, entitled "Doctor Honoris Causa" was recorded in honor of Herbie Hancock for his Honorary Doctorate at Grinnell University. It is a spatial delight where the concepts for two keyboards are stretched to the limits with lingering notes that intermingle. The music is spacey in that it never takes off, remains in a state of quietude, flows along it's melodic path with occasional bursts of high energy that are maintained by the structure of the two keyboards. It is a forerunner to the signature sound of Weather Report.It is an extended song in the 15 minute range that takes the listener on a journey. On this disc is one of Joe Zawinul's most well known songs, "In a Silent Way," made popular during his stint with Miles Davis, and featured on one of the great fusion discs In a Silent Way. Granted this version is not as good as the Miles Davis version(s)but it is great nonetheless. After all, it is Zawinul's composition and who better to reveal a vision of his music than the author. It is supposed to be impressions of his early days as a shepherd boy in Austria. It is a calm song that has hints of melancholy; think of it as a relaxed Miles Davis version. The influences of Miles Davis from the time Zawinul spent with him are all over this disc. For my money these are the two best track on the disc. The whole disc has a old world flavor to it, especially since many of the songs are based on his memories of Austria as a child. "His Last Journey" recalls his grandfather's funeral and during certain moments reminds me of a Chuck Mangione song that is the title track on Chase the Clouds Away. This is probably not the disc to begin listening to Joe Zawinul with. Regardless, if you are new to him it is definitely representative of where he had been and where he was heading musically. Joe Zawinul was always pushing the musical envelope and this disc is no exception. This is a great CD in a long line of exceptional Joe Zawinul recordings. Recommended for jazz and fusion aficionados."