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Release datum:
Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate
Philharmonie, Munich, 1989

Joe Zawinul, keyboards
Gerald Veasley, bass
Scott Henderson, guiter
Cornell Rochester, drums
Leata Galloway, vocals
Carl Anderson, vocals
Bill Summers, percussion

March of the Lost Children (JOE ZAWINUL)
Medicine Man (JZ)
Black Water (JZ)
Shadow and Light (JZ)
Little Rootie Tootie (Thelonious Monk)
Carnavalito (JZ)

Often described a "legend", Joe Zawinul is the keyboard in jazz. Nobody did as much for the establishment of electro-acoustic and electronic keyboards in jazz as Zawinul. Beginning with the simple electric piano he used as most favored European jazz import with Cannonball Adderley to the latest synthesizer innovations – the Viennese with the coloured cap has tried and perfected everything before it becomes mainstream.

Zawinul’s keyboard sound had enriched Maynard Ferguson’s orchestra, he had accompanied the unforgettable Dinah Washington and backed popular alto giant Cannonball Adderley. He had composed soul jazz hits such as “Scotch and Water”, “Walk Tall”, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Country Preacher” all the while surprising everybody who would never have believed a European could sound so “black”. As keyboardist with Miles Davis he became one of the the pioneers of jazz rock on albums “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew”. Most known, however, he became with one of the most successful jazz-rock-formations of all times: “Weather Report” which he cofounded with Wayne Shorter in 1971. Their hit “Birdland” certainly is Zawinul’s best-known composition.

In 1987, after a few solo and duo projects, the keyboardist created “The Zawinul Syndicate”. The most conspicuous difference to “Weather Report” is that instead of Wayne Shorter’s saxophone an electric guitarist was featured and the melange turned out more rocking. In the beginning years Scott Henderson was mastering the electric strings. Bassist Gerald Veasley, percussionists Cornell Rochester and Bill Summers, joined on a few titles by vocalists Laeta Galloway and Carl Anderson, made up the band at the Munich piano summer of 1989, when there concert was recorded live for this DVD.

Joe Zawinul says about this cast: “My music needs a very strong rhythm, that’s why I carry both a drummer and a percussionist. Then the bass. I don’t leave the house without a bassist. I never got the idea after Wayne Shorter of using a saxophone player, let alone a trumpeter.”
If you think you hear a saxophone nevertheless, listen again: it is Joe Zawinul himself, who imitates the instrument on his keyboards. The constant urge to bring his electronic instruments to perfection and the inclusion of musical elements from around the world turns the Syndicate until today into a laboratory, which today’s music scene could not do without.

“I heard a lot of music in my lifetime, but somehow it all seems the same to me. Is there a sound to chose – one that has never been used by anyone anywhere?” – the first song lines in this concert could perhaps be regarded as Zawinul’s artistic credo as composer and keyboardist. The whole world of sound is dwelling in his instruments. Like a magician he coaxes unexpected sounds from his machines and turns them into jazz. In 1989, when he played the Piano Summer in the Munich Philharmonic Hall with his Syndicate, Zawinul was already far gone on his own electronic road – so far that the music he created still seems contemporary.

“It is a blessing’, muses Zawinul, “to be able to enter a stage and bring good feelings to the world. I see myself as a maturing musician, who does not like to reflect on the past, but endeavours to grow and develop new things.” Viewer of this DVD can share the joy with Joe Zawinul and his Syndicate as they took the stage in Munich. The DVD is accompanied by an informative booklet text in German, French and English by jazz journalist Marcus A. Woelfle who draws on an interview he did with Joe Zawinul in 2002.