Monthly Archives: September 2007

Three-Hour Zawinul Tribute, Saturday, September 29

Dore Stein, host of the radio program Tangents, will air a three-hour tribute to Joe Zawinul on San Francisco Bay Area radio station KALW, on Saturday, September 29. The program will begin at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, or 04:00 UTC (GMT). Joining Dore in the studio will be journalist Anil Prasad of Innerviews, and yours truly. In addition to playing tunes from throughout Joe’s career, we plan to have some interview snippets that have never been aired before.

You can listen live over the Internet from KALW’s web site. Hope you can make it!

“A Tribute to Joe Zawinul” Performances

Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble had three performances of their program “Absolute Zawinul” scheduled for the end of this month in Europe. According to the Philharmonie Luxembourg web site, the Sept. 30 Luxembourg concert has been canceled. However, the Sept. 26 concert in Milan, Italy and the Sept. 29 performance in Vienna will still go on as a tribute to Joe. The Absolute Ensemble will share the stage with members of the Zawinul Syndicate: Sabine Kabongo, Linley Marthe, Alegre Corréa, Jorge Bezerra Jr., and Aziz Sahmaoui. Net proceeds of the Vienna performance will benefit skin cancer research at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute. It is my understanding that before his death, Joe requested that Chucho Valdes take his place, at least for the show in Milan, Italy. In light of the changed program from “Absolute Zawinul” to a tribute to Joe, I’m not sure if Chucho will still be a part of the program. The dates are on the Tour Dates page.

Joe Zawinul Memorial Page

Legendary musician Joe Zawinul passed away on September 11, 2007. He was 75 years old. He was an absolutely unique figure in the jazz world who led an incredible life. Though he left us in body, he remains with us in spirit. He touched the lives of countless individuals around the world, and his recorded legacy of music will enrich us forever.

On the day of Joe’s death, fans began posting messages on this web site; thoughtful and poignant messages of grief and celebration of Joe’s life and work. I have established this page as a permanent place in which to display those messages; a place to honor Joe’s memory.

I hope you will continue to add to the memorial as time goes on.

Willie Tee and Earl Turbinton, RIP

On the same day that Joe Zawinul passed away, Wilson Turbinton, the New Orleans keyboardist known as Willie Tee, died at age 63. Zawinul fans may know him as the composer of “Can It Be Done” on Weather Report’s Domino Theory album. His brother, saxophonist Earl Turbinton, died on August 3. He was 65. Earl is perhaps best known to Zawinul fans for having played on Joe’s 1971 eponymous album.

Joe got to know the Turbintons while he was a member of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. According to an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “In the late 1960s, Willie Tee & the Souls performed everywhere from the Apollo Theater in Harlem to the Ivanhoe on Bourbon Street. After hearing the band at the Ivanhoe in 1968, jazz musician Cannonball Adderley encouraged Mr. Turbinton to record an instrumental album. The album was never released, but the master tapes were recently rediscovered in the vaults of Capitol Records, [Leo] Sacks said.” It’s not far-fetched to assume that Tee’s funky style had some influence on Joe.

Earl’s playing on the Zawinul album was remembered years later by drummer Billy Hart in Brian Glasser’s book, In A Silent Way. “Earl Turbinton was chosen to play the ‘In A Silent Way’ theme, and the way he played it was so beautiful. Everyone was just stunned. That was the first time that the full version of ‘Silent Way’ had been played. Everyone left the studio knowing something special had happened. For years, we all talked about it, saying something spiritual had happened.”

Earl often told of being asked by Joe to become a founding member of Weather Report. It’s doubtful that Weather Report would have had two sax players, so it seems more likely that Joe and Earl discussed forming a band around the same time that Joe, Wayne and Miroslav got together. (If anyone has more details about Earl and Joe, I’d love to hear from you. You can send me email to the address on the About page). In any event, Earl opted to go out on the road with B.B. King.

Both Earl and Willie were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, eventually relocating to Baton Rouge from their native New Orleans. Joe didn’t forget his friends, and a few months after Katrina hit, he held a benefit concert called “Charity Event for the Lost Children of New Orleans” at Birdland and invited Willie to be his special guest. Earl, who suffered a stroke in 2002, was unable to attend. Photographs of the event can be found on Willie Tee’s web site.

For more about Willie Tee, see Jon Parales’ obituary in the New York Times. For more about Earl Turbinton, see Keith Spera’s obituary in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Joe Zawinul Dies at Age 75

When I started this web site several years ago, I knew in the back of my mind that if I kept it going long enough, I would have to write this article. That doesn’t make it any easier. I woke up this morning to the very sad news that Joe Zawinul passed away today in Vienna. “Joe Zawinul was born on July 7, 1932 in earth time, and on September 11, 2007 in eternal time. He lives on,” his son Erich said in a statement. Indeed he does live on! Joe was an absolutely unique figure in jazz who led an incredible life. His music has been a part of me since I was a teenager, and it always will be.

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Joe’s sons, Anthony, Erich and Ivan. They also lost their mother and Joe’s wife of over 40 years in July.

Lately I’ve been listening to World Tour pretty much every day. For some reason, I just got on this roll that I had to hear it everyday. I’ll be listening to it again this morning as I drive to work.

Many Zawinul Online visitors have expressed their feelings about Joe’s passing, and you can read their comments on the Memorial page that I established as a permanent part of this web site. If you would like to share what Joe has meant to you, visit the Memorial page where you you can log in (to combat spam) and leave a message. If you prefer, you can send me email at the address on the About page. Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

I will have more to say about Joe after I’ve had time to reflect on his passing. Without a doubt there will never be another Joe Zawinul. God bless him and his family.

[Note that the memorial messages posted by Zawinul fans around the world have been moved to the permanent Memorial page.]