The WDR Big Band will revisit the music of Weather Report this fall–only this time Zawinul will man the keyboards. You may recall that the band honored Zawinul at the January 2002 International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, performing several of Zawinul’s Weather Report compositions arranged by Vince Mendoza, with Scott Kinsey on keyboards and Weather Report alumni Peter Erskine, Victor Bailey and Alex Acuña holding down the rhythm section. They reprised their performance later that year for Zawinul’s 70th birthday gala at the Leverkusener Jazz Festival. Portions of that performance are supposed to come out as Midnight Jam on ESC Records, but that release has fallen victim to indefinite delays. A DVD of this concert was also in the works, but it seems to have suffered the same fate as the CD. [As of January 2007, neither of these have ever been released.]
The new concerts again feature arrangements by Vince Mendoza, with the WDR Big Band augmented by Zawinul, Victor Bailey, Nathaniel Townsley and Alex Acuña. In addition to a week-long stand at Zawinul’s Birdland in Vienna, the band will again perform at Leverkusener. See the Tour Dates page for the performance schedule.