Joe Zawinul Biography (BBC)
Widely regarded as Austria's most famous jazz musician, Zawinul underwent a classical training at the Vienna Conservatoire. As a young man he demonstrated the breadth of his talent, playing in various broadcasting and studio bands before emigrating to the United States in the late 1950s.
He came to international attention in Cannonball Adderley's quintet, with which he played throughout the 1960s, bringing to the group both his distinctive, gospelly, piano style, and several outstanding compositions including the hit 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy'. His playing and writing drew him to the attention of Miles Davis, and he played on several albums including 'A Silent Way', for which he composed the title track.
In 1970, he co-founded Weather Report with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and the band toured widely for the next fifteen years. During that time they had major hits, including 'Birdland', and featured such sidemen as bassist Jaco Pastorius and drummers Alphonse Mouzon, Alex Acuna and Peter Erskine. From the late 1980s he led his own fusion band, the Zawinul Syndicate, in which his powerful keyboard playing had a prominent role.
Joe Zawinul Biography (Wikipedia)
Josef Erich "Joe" Zawinul (July 7, 1932 – September 11, 2007) was an Austrian jazz keyboardist and composer.
First coming to prominence with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, Zawinul went on to play with trumpeter Miles Davis, and to become one of the creators of jazz fusion, an innovative musical genre that combined jazz with elements of rock and world music. Later, he co-founded the groups Weather Report and the Zawinul Syndicate. He pioneered the use of electric piano and synthesizer. He was named "Best Electric Keyboardist" twenty-eight times by the readers of Down Beat magazine.
A number of prominent musical artists have honored Zawinul with compositions, including Brian Eno's instrumental "Zawinul/Lava", John McLaughlin's instrumental "Jozy", Warren Cuccurullo's "Hey Zawinul", Bob Baldwin's "Joe Zawinul", Chucho Valdés's "Zawinul's Mambo", Biréli Lagrène's instrumental "Josef" and Toninho Horta's instrumental "Balada para Zawinul". Zawinul's playing style was often dominated by quirky melodic improvisations – traversing bebop, ethnic and pop styles – combined with sparse but rhythmic playing of big-band sounding chords or bass lines. In Weather Report, he often employed a vocoder as well as pre-recorded sounds played (i.e. filtered and transposed) through a synthesizer, a method or technique called sampling, creating a very distinctive synthesis of jazz harmonies and "noise" ("using all the sounds the world generates").
Joe Zawinul Tracks