If one must indulge in categories, My People, featuring the Zawinul Syndicate and a United Nations coterie of guests, probably belongs on the vast world music shelf, the links to so-called jazz now so tenuous as to be nearly, but not quite, invisible. On the percolating "Slivovitz Trail," "Orient Express," "Many Churches," and the Caribbean-tinged cleverly titled "In an Island Way," the music does suggest earlier versions of the Syndicate, and Joe Zawinul's nostalgic evocations of Wayne Shorter on the Korg Pepe reach back even further. Otherwise, Zawinul is looking entirely toward ethnic cultures for musical sustenance. The musical structures are linear, the rhythms full of intricacies welded to Zawinul's love affair with the groove, the synthesizer textures usually sparer than ever.
The SYNDICATE, consisting of former members of the Zawinul Syndicate, some new guys and special guests vocalist Sabine Kabongo (Zawinul Syndicate, Zap Mama, Trilok Gurtu) and keyboarder Eric Mouquet ("Deep Forest") (both with a Grammy of their own) have a fresh look at some Zawinul composition not everyone might know. It's a blast. A lot is going on. You can hear the band enjoyed the recording. Zawinul might be dead, but his music keeps grooving (and still growing on me after all those years). After hearing this album a few dozen times I am still not tired of it. It might be the best low risk/high reward investment available out there.
Although Zawinul tried touring alone in the immediate wake of the breakup of Weather Report, he soon returned to a group format, first with Weather Update in 1986 and a couple of years later with the raffishly named Zawinul Syndicate. The multi-national Syndicate basically expands the Weather Report format into a sextet, with a rock guitar (Scott Henderson) replacing the sax, an extra percussionist on board to join WR's Alex Acuna, and more vocal support then ever – and if a Wayne Shorter-like melody line was needed, Zawinul would play it himself on his new Korg Pepe wind synthesizer. If anything…
With a few changes in personnel, the Zawinul Syndicate continues to be Joe Zawinul's personal vehicle for pan-global fusions of jazz, Afro-Latin rhythms, rock and whatever world music he can lay his hands on. Again Zawinul keeps a configuration of vocalists on board, including his own gritty electronically processed voice, and he even dusts off his childhood accordion for a bit of Austrian local color on "Medicine Man." The leadoff track, a group remake of "Carnivalito" recorded live in Copenhagen, is, oddly enough, inferior to Zawinul's solo version – too cluttered. But with the South African freedom-fighting, percolating "Black Water," the Syndicate is back on track…
Joe Zawinul was a fantastic composer, musical visionary who pioneered the use of electric piano/synthesizers in modern music. He composed the soul jazz hit Mercy Mercy Mercy for Cannonball Adderly. In a Silent Way (1969) and Pharaoh's Dance for the seminal album Bitches Brew (1970) for Miles Davis and formed the Jazz Rock Fusion Band Weather Report with saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter in 1970. After the demise of WR he formed his own world fusion band called The Zawiful Syndicate in 1988 and recorded three albums. Joe was a true innovator of modern music in the late 20th and 21st century, like Miles Davis, he had that mystic mojo, always sensing the cutting edge, incredible sensibility for the future sonics, a true master of sound.
Compiled by pianist Joe Zawinul, this Capitol collection features 10 songs composed by Zawinul himself and performed by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Both one-time members of Miles Davis's groups, Adderley and Zawinul began their association in the early 1960s when Zawinul joined the sax man's ensemble. In addition to writing some of Adderley's most memorable and popular material, Zawinul proved instrumental in pushing the quintet toward a more soulful, commercially viable sound.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Although Joe first came to big fame in the US as a funky vamper and soloist behind Cannonball Adderley's big group of the 60s, this early album as a leader has a much more mature sound than Joe's funky work with Cannon – and it rightly earns the "third stream" tag in the title through the use of an enlarged ensemble that includes cello and viola, in addition to the core group of soulful players like Jimmy Owens, Richard Davis, and Freddie Waits. William Fischer's also on the record on tenor, and many of the tracks are his own compositions, with that kind of weird off-kilter, slightly serious approach he used on other Atlantic/Vortex sessions at the time. The mix of soul and serious scoring is actually a pretty darn compelling blend – as you'll hear on tracks like "Lord, Lord, Lord", "Soul Of A Village", and "The 5th Canto".
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. A beautiful fusion of Joe Zawinul's roots in the groups of Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley – a set with some of the far-reaching jazz ideas of the former, and much of the soulful subtleties of the latter! The album features Joe on electric piano throughout, playing alongside Herbie Hancock in a twin-piano style that's quite spacious, and filled with slow-building, long-flowing lines! Other players include Woody Shaw on trumpet, Earl Turbington on soprano sax, George Davis on flute, Miroslav Vitous and Walter Booker on drums, and Joe Chambers, Billy Hart, and David Lee on a range of percussion.