Joe Zawinul, RIP (1932-2007)

Matt over at Los Amigos De Durutti posted that Joe Zawinul died yesterday at the age of 75. In his post, he notes that Zawinul’s work had a tremendous effect on his appreciation and love of jazz music. I’ll second that in a big way. I never really listened to much Weather Report, but there’s no way I’d love jazz music, or even music in general, as much as I do without the couple of albums I have that Zawinul plays on. This is no exaggeration. I don’t remember the first time I heard the song “Mercy Mercy Mercy” (which Zawinul composed), but I can say without hesitation that it was one of those moments that shaped my understanding of just how good music could be. Even right now, as I’m listening to the song, it STILL sends goosebumps up my arms (listen for the horns at 4:30 and you’ll understand).

And the same goes for “In a Silent Way” (the solo version of which Matt has up on his site). In college, some friends of mine and I got this idea to publish our own music magazine. It was a hairbrained idea that never got off the ground, but one thing I wrote up for it was a “classic albums” review for Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way. I think I must have used the word “beautiful” about half a dozen times. Zawinul’s contribution to the album (on top of his playing) was the transcendent title piece, which bookends Davis’ own “It’s About That Time.” Yet Davis chose “In a Silent Way” as the album’s title, and it’s not hard to tell why. The song is what every composer of “light jazz” dreams of and then fails at writing. It’s light without being cheesy, soft without putting you to sleep. And beautiful beautiful beautiful.

Cannonball Adderley Quintet – Mercy Mercy Mercy (Buy It)

Miles Davis – In A Silent Way/It’s About That Time (Buy It)

Read the AllAboutJazz biography, which includes links to lots of other sites with info about Zawinul.

[EDIT] And check out Darcy’s post too at Secret Society too.

posted by Adam

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One response to “Joe Zawinul, RIP (1932-2007)

  1. Agreed. I never much cared for Weather Report, but Zawinul’s playing with Adderley was delightful. Nice post.

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