I read in the paper that Joe Zawinul had died. I was lucky enough to see him playing with his Syndicate a few years ago at the Warwick Arts Centre. A stunning concert with a stunning band. Joe’s music seems to bubble away (well, the upbeat stuff, not the ballads of course). Lots of really thick colourful musical textures. I think I’ll have a listen to Brown Street this afternoon, an amazing album of big band arrangements of his tunes.
I’d say that Zawinul was one of the few greats in jazz composition, managing to balance complex chords, arrangements, rythms and timbres one on hand, and good catchy melodies on the other. Unlike most other “fusion” music, Weather Report and the Zawinul Syndacite never sounded like they were being complicated for the sake of it.