Thursday, September 3, 2009

Joe Zawinul - Zawinul (Atlantic, 1971)

Conceptually, sonically, this is really the first Weather Report album in all but name, confirming that Joe Zawinul was the primary creative engine behind the group from the beginning. It is also the link between WR and Miles Davis' keyboard-laden experiments on In a Silent Way; indeed, the tune "In a Silent Way" is redone in the more complex form in which Zawinul envisioned it, and Miles even contributes a brief, generous tribute to Zawinul on the liner. Two keyboardists -- Zawinul and the formidable Herbie Hancock -- form the underpinning of this stately, probing album, garnishing their work with the galactic sound effects of the Echoplex and ring modulator. Earl Turbinton provides the Wayne Shorter-like beams of light on the soprano sax, spelled by Wayne himself on "Double Image." The third founder of WR, Miroslav Vitous, checks in on bass, and hard-bopping trumpeter Woody Shaw proves to be perfectly adept at the jazz-rock game. Two short-lived standards of the jazz-rock era, the aforementioned "Double Image" and "Doctor Honoris Causa," are introduced here, yet it is mood pieces like "His Last Journey" and "Arrival in New York" that with the help of tape-speed manipulation, establish the lasting, murky, reflective ambience of this CD


marram62 said...

Slidewell said...

Lately I've been digging into the earliest Weather Report material, the more searching, less structured stuff, that as a younger dude, didn't quite float my boat. That early stuff, and in particular, this Zawinul album, make for some of the best late night listening, transporting one to strange blissful reveries . . . completely chemically unassisted! Each time, the music reveals new levels of texture and mood. Really enjoying your posts here. Discovering much wonderful new music, and in the case of Zawinul, encouraging me to dig out some old favorites! Thanks!