I don’t usually post about YouTube videos, since I figure you can just go to YouTube and search for Zawinul yourself. But I recently came across one that is worth bringing to your attention.
Back in 1985, NBC News aired a three-minute profile of Zawinul, including clips of him rehearsing in his Pasadena living room studio, which he called “The Music Room.” At the time, he was preparing for his tour of Europe as a one-man band. In the clip, you see brief glimpses of him working on a solo version of “Corner Pocket” (from the Weather Report album Sportin’ Life) as well as a version of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday.”
Now the entire, raw hour-and-a-half video of Joe working in his studio has been posted. It’s a cool and unique piece because it shows Joe working through “Corner Pocket” for solo performance. One of the things you’ll notice is just how hard it was for Joe to not only play the piece himself, but to also make the necessary “moves” from instrument to instrument, putting them into the right mode or program as the piece continues. These were technologically primitive days compared to what’s possible now, and what Joe pulled off in concert was pretty amazing.
Back in the year 2000, Tony Zawinul, Joe’s eldest son, released a video documentary about the Zawinul Syndicate. It was a cool behind-the-scenes look at the band and its travels in the late 1990s. This is the band of the World Tour CD, with Gary Paulson, Paco Sery, Manolo Badrena, Victor Bailey and Richard Bona.
Two Years was released on VHS tape, but disappeared pretty quickly, never making it onto DVD. I still get occasional requests asking how to get a copy, and it now appears that Tony is preparing to release it in digital form, as he announced on the Zawinul Legacy Band Facebook page. He’s taking pre-orders starting on Christmas Day. Go to the Heavy Weather Shop and sign up for email updates.
Tony is also crowd-funding a documentary about Weather Report. You can go to my Weather Report site for more details.