In August, the Zawinul Syndicate will make its first visit to Japan in several years, with stops at Nagoya, Yokohama, Sapporo and Tokyo. Also on the schedule this fall is a brief tour of the US, including a four-night stint at Blues Alley in Washington, DC; a return engagement at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, a one-nighter at my favorite venue to see Joe, the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, California; and finally, a three-night stand on Joe’s home turf in Southern California at Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood.
Also on the schedule are two performances in New York as part of the Jazz at Lincoln Center series. This is interesting because Wynton Marsalis is J@LC’s music director, and Marsalis has not been bashful about expressing his sentiments regarding fusion music. (See Ken Burns’ JAZZ—The Fusion Transcripts for some examples.) And Joe has had a few things to say about Wynton as well. He once told journalist Stuart Nicholson, “To me [Marsalis] is more of a teacher, as an artist he really can’t carry the stick. He’s been put on a pedestal, which is a high one, but he doesn’t call the tune, sorry to say that.” In any event, there appears to be thawing in J@LC’s attitude toward music it doesn’t consider part of the jazz repretory, which is a good thing. [Check out the JazzTimes review of the Syndicate’s J@LC concert.]