ESC Records has announced a January 31, 2005 release date for Midnight Jam, the live double CD recording of Zawinul’s 70th birthday party concert at the Leverkusener Jazztage in 2002. That seems to be a European release date. No word on the stateside release yet. ESC has posted additional information about the release, including the tunes on the recording. Much of the CD captures the 2002 edition of the Syndicate, with Paco Sery, Etienne MBappé, Amit Chatterjee, Manolo Badrena and Sabine Kabongo. Maria Joao performs on two cuts, and Alex Acuña guests on three.
The WDR Big Band, under the direction of Vince Mendoza, gets four tracks, performing “Night Passage,” “In A Silent Way,” “Badia/Boogie Woogie Waltz,” and “D Flat Waltz.” Guests of the big band are Peter Erskine on drums, Victor Bailey on bass, Alex Acuña on percussion, and Scott Kinsey on keyboards.
Meanwhile, Zawinul will release a live recording of the Syndicate’s performances at his club Birdland in Vienna, Austria. The bulk of the material comes from the band’s week-long stand at the end of September, featuring musicians from around the globe: Linley Marthe (Bass) from Mauritius, Karim Ziad (Drums, vocals) from Algeria, Sabine Kabongo (vocals) from Belgium via the Congo, Marc Aziz Sahmaoui (gembri, perc, vocals) from Morocco, Arto Tuncboyaciyan (percussion, vocals) from Armenia, Alegre Corrêa (guitar) from Vienna via Brasil, and Scott Henderson (guitar) from the United States. Also included will be two songs recorded during the Syndicate’s May performances which opened the club. The line-up then was Zawinul, Nathaniel Townsley III (drums), Marthe, Kabongo, Badrena and Chatterjee. This album will be released on Zawinul’s new label, BirdJam, created solely for live performances of artists appearing at Birdland. No word yet on a release date.