Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Joe Zawinul Is Dead

It saddens me greatly to relay this news. Joe Zawinul, one of the great jazz composers of all time, has died:

VIENNA (AFP) - Austrian jazz pianist Joe Zawinul, the founder of the influential 1970s jazz-rock group Weather Report, died Tuesday in Vienna at the age of 75, his family said.

"Joe Zawinul was born on July 7, 1932, in earth time, and September 11, 2007, in eternal time. He lives on," his son Erich Zawinul told the APA news agency.

The pianist and singer, who had Hungarian, Czech and gypsy roots, was hospitalised in the Austrian capital on August 5. According to media reports, he was suffering from cancer.

Zawinul was born in Vienna but spent much of his life in the United States, recording several albums with the legendary Miles Davis in the 1960s.

In the early 1970s he founded Weather Report with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist Miroslav Vitous and bass player Jaco Pastorius.

One of their biggest hits, "Birdland", topped the music charts and the band also won numerous awards, including a Grammy.

In 2004 Zawinul bought a jazz club in Vienna, the Birdland, but continued to tour with his new group, the Zawinul Syndicate.

He was due to play this month at the La Villette jazz festival in Paris, but the performance was cancelled due to his ill health.

Over the course of his career, Zawinul was named pianist of the year 28 times by the American jazz magazine Down Beat.

Here is his most famous composition.