Zawinul Syndicate percussionist Manolo Badrena’s 1979 album, Manolo, is being rereleased on CD in Japan next month. Of special note is an appearance by Jaco Pastorius on one track. Other performers include Carlos Rios on guitar, Hugo Fattoruso on keyboards (anybody remember the 1970s fusion band Opa?), and Abraham Laboriel on bass. Those of us in the states can order it from Audiophile Imports.
This is probably old news to Jacophiles, but a remastered version of Jaco Pastorius’ eponymous debut album is scheduled for release this summer by Columbia/Legacy Recordings. It will include two previously unreleased tracks: an alternate take of “Cha-Cha,” and “6/4 Jam,” with Jaco, Herbie Hancock, Lenny White, and Don Alias. (This information comes from Tom Stroud’s Jaco Pastorius web site.)
The Los Angeles Times ran a brief review by Don Heckman of the Syndicate’s May 5 performance at UCLA. Heckman previously reviewed the World Tour CD for the Times, calling it “stunning,” with brilliantly innovative performances that demand repeated hearing. Unfortunately, he didn’t like the concert as much, complaining that there was “a sameness to much of the music.” He concluded his review with, “Despite occasional high points, it was not one of the Zawinul Syndicate’s most impressive presentations. In past performances, Zawinul has offered more contrasting material, enriching his synthesizer sounds with loops of world music and radio sounds. This time out, repetition too often took precedence over inspiration.”
Heckman also indicated that the concert was sparsely attended, perhaps because that same evening the Los Angeles Lakers were playing the fifth and deciding game of the series with the Sacramento Kings.
In conjunction with the Zawinul Syndicate’s performances in California this weekend, the San Jose Mercury-News, San Francisco Examiner, and LA Weekly all published feature articles today about Zawinul. These articles will likely be available for free viewing for 7 to 14 days, after which you will have to pay to retrieve them from the newspapers’ archives. In the Mercury-News article, Zawinul talks about how the Syndicate’s new drummer”Nathaniel Townsley”came to his attention, and the Examiner article recalls Weather Report’s first performance in San Francisco.
According to the International Music Network, the Zawinul Syndicate will play several concerts in Central and South America following its Los Angeles and San Francisco gigs this weekend. The Zawinul Online Tour Dates page has been updated accordingly.
Meanwhile, the Syndicate performed its first concerts with its revamped line-up this past weekend at the Denton Jazz Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival. The line-up consisted of Zawinul, Manolo Badrena on percussion, Nathaniel Townsley on drums, Amit Chatterjee on guitar, and Richard Bona on bass. Starting with the California gigs the first weekend in May, Victor Bailey will re-assume the bass chair now that his own European tour has concluded.