Syndicate bass player Victory Bailey is the current featured artist at the Fender Musical Instruments web site, where you’ll find a nice feature article on Victor. And while you’re there, you might as well check out the legend of Jaco carrying a chicken bone in his bass case.
“Victor Bailey Drives the Bus,” by Eric Kingsbury, Fender bassstreet.com
“Jaco and the Chicken Bone,” by Eric Kingsbury, Fender bassstreet.com
One CD we missed this year in our occasional round-up of Zawinul alumni discs is Paco Sery’s Voyages, released this past summer on Blue Note-France/EMI. The disc has not been released in the United States, and most of the information about it on the net is in French. (Paco lives near Paris.) However, journalist Mike Zwerin has a nice piece about Paco on his web site. (He also wrote about Richard Bona.) In any event, Voyages is available from Audiophile Imports, as well as Amazon UK and Amazon France.
The best English language web site that I know for staying abreast of Paco’s activities is Music in Motion Films.
The January 2001 issue of Downbeat magazine features a cover story on Weather Report by Josef Woodard. The article chronicles the band’s history and attempts to put the band in historical perspective. Woodard calls Weather Report “the best jazz band of the past 30 years.” Contemporary comments are provided by Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Peter Erskine and Victory Bailey. The article also states that “a double CD of unreleased live material from various Weather Report groupings is expected for release [in 2001] from the vaults of Columbia/Legacy.” A must read for Zawinul, Jaco and Weather Report fans.
Sanctuary Publishing sends word that it will release Brian Glasser’s Zawinul biography, titled In a Silent Way, in February 2001. The press release is below.
IN A SILENT WAY: JOE ZAWINUL
by Brian Glasser
Pub date: February 2001
ISBN: 1 86074 246 7
UK Price: £15
US Price: $22
Format: Hardback, Royal
Photos: 16 pg b/w photo section
Dimensions: 210 x 148mm/8.2″ x 5.9″
Rights: World, all language
Irrepresible, irascible, outspoken and outrageously gifted–the world of jazz has never seen a talent like Joe Zawinul.
As the most important Eurpoean in the history of jazz, and quite simply one of hte greatest bandleaders and composers in the history of music, Zawinul’s contributions to the advancement of his art form have been immense. With his band, Weather Report, his use of world rhythms and new electronic tonalities pioneered the arrival of ‘fusion’–arguably the last seismic shift American jazz has known. He is also credited with ‘inventing’ the hip-hop beat on the album Sweetnighter.
As a solo star, Zawinul made his name accompanying Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis, for whom he wrote the seminal "In a Silent Way." With Weather Report he enjoyed 15 years of unmitigated success, exemplified in their major international hit, "Birdland." Now in his sixth decade as a professional musician, he is as popular as ever.
In A Silent Way is the first biography of this musical visionary. It includes rare photographs ranging from his roots in Austria to stages around the world, plus original interviews with Zawinul himself and more than 70 of his friends and collaborators–from Thelonious Monk to the president of Austria! The book’s release marks the 30th anniversary of the recording of the first Weather Report album and will be marked by a launch at the Austrian Embassy in London.
London based Brian Glasser is an experienced jazz writer and journalist who has contributed to Time Out, The Guardian, The Independent, The European, Q, Mojo and many major jazz magazines. Brian has interviewed Joe extensively over the years, gaining remarkable insight into the man’s life and music.
This fall brought new CDs from several Zawinul alumni. Tribal Tech, one of the longest lived and best fusion bands working today, released a new album called Rocket Science. The band’s personnel has remained the same for a decade, with former Syndicate members Scott Henderson on guitar, and Kirk Covington on drums. The other members of the band are electric bass player Gary Willis (who played with Wayne Shorter in the mid to late 1980s) and keyboard player Scott Kinsey. I love Kinsey’s playing; it’s unique and fresh. Plus he used a Korg OASYS PCI on Rocket Science, a product I had a little something to do with! Anyway, Rocket Science is highly recommended.
Former Syndicate bass player Matthew Garrison has released his first solo album. The personnel includes some names familiar to Zawinul fans, such as Amit Chaterjee and Arto Tuncboyacian. And that Kinsey guy plays an OASYS PCI on this CD too. Check out Matthew’s web site for more information. I haven’t heard the CD yet, but I understand it’s a knock out. I better get off my duff and send Garrison a check.
Another recent release comes from former Weather Report member Mino Cinelu. The self-titled CD features Zawinul alumnus Richard Bona on bass, as well as Mitch Stein on guitars, with Cinelu playing everything else. The album includes a new version of Cinelu’s composition “Confians,” which appeared on the Weather Report album Sportin’ Life.
A2Z Entertainment Group has launched the official Zawinul Syndicate web site, and it’s got some cool features. There is a great photograph gallery, and you can also buy Zawinul Syndicate merchandise. I can personally recommend the baseball cap. And don’t forget the Zawinul Syndicate documentary.
The official Jaco Pastorius web site is finally online. It’s a professionally designed site and definitely worth a visit for Jaco fans. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a little longer for the much delayed Bob Bobbing set of early Jaco recordings, which is said to be titled “Dixie Highway – A Portrait of Jaco’s Early Years.”
This May the San Francisco Jazz Organization will host a weekend of concerts and activities for fusion and Zawinul enthusiasts. Friday, May 5 will feature “Fusion on Film,” including rare footage and live comentary from fusion groups such as Miles Davis and Weather Report. On Saturday, May 6 the Zawinul Syndicate and the Richard Bona Group will perform in concert. And on Sunday, May 7, the Zawinul Syndicate will perform an afternoon family matinee. Tickets go on sale to the public January 9.
Telarc International plans to release Celebrating the Music of Weather Report, a tribute album to mark the 30th anniversary of the group’s founding. It will consist of Weather Report compositions performed by an all-star cast of contemporary jazz performers. The release is scheduled for February 2000.
Anthony Zawinul, Joe’s eldest son, is producing a video documenting the Zawinul Syndicate on tour in Europe, India and Africa. Az-Iz News