As visitors to the Zawinul Online Tour Dates page know, the Zawinul Syndicate played two concerts in Hong Kong last month as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. The occasion marked Zawinul’s first performances on Chinese soil. In an article in the South China Morning Post, Zawinul talked about the current band, giving us an inkling as to what we might expect this year.
“I have a band right now in session,” Zawinul said in December. “We have a new drummer, and I am writing for the musicians in the band. Before you really know what the future’s going to be in music, you have to know the people you are playing with and the music they are capable of playing. I must also know their personality. I cannot write music for a guy who is not going to be able to play that music. But yes, some [of the music on the program] will be very new and some of the older things. But some of the older things you won’t even recognize because I’m only using it as a canvas.”
According to a review of the February 20 concert, the Syndicate line-up consisted of Zawinul, Victor Bailey on bass, Manolo Badrena on percussion, Karim Ziad on drums, and Amit Chaterjee on guitar. Since then a report on the Zawinul Fans mailing list indicates that this summer’s European tour will include drummer Nathaniel Townsley instead of Ziad.
To my knowledge, the itinerary for the European tour has not been published. In addition to the Syndicate tour in June and July, EMMECI, one of Zawinul’s European booking agents, is also booking August dates for a Joe Zawinul “Special Project,” including Maria Joao on vocals, Lelo Nika on accordian, and a percussionist to be announced.