Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul

An explorer and a great bandleader. I realise now ( but it was always obvious to anyone with the correct number of ears ) that his was a rare and significant achievement, starting with his enthusiasm and love for Ellington and pre-war black greats like Fats Waller, growing through bebop and beyond it, finally grafting that experience on to his own idea of a more multicultural aesthetic and developing his own personal expression.

I met him once in the Weather Report glory days, and I pitched the idea of an animated video. He was friendly and responsive, and in no way overbearing but I was very conscious of his power as an individual. He remarked on my name, telling me his favourite writer was Aleister Crowley, and surprising me with the range of his interests, not to mention the depth of his voodoo...The tribute clips on YouTube reveal a warmer man than his reputation has sometimes allowed, and I'm really sad to see him Leave the Building.

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