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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy epitaph for musical genius
He played jazz and rythm'n'blues, made classical works, was a seminal voice on Miles Davis' groundbreaking jazzrock records in the 60s. And co-led one of the finest, most daring bands ever: Weather Report.

But the last years of his life was mainly devoted to fruitful explorations into world music and a brimming amalgam of African, South American and European...
Published on 15 Dec 2008 by Bodhi Heeren

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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sad ending
I have been a fan of Joe Zawinul sinse 1965, and he has provided me with a great soundtrack for my life sinse then. "75th" is not the way I would like to remember him. I would go as far as to say that, had he not died this would not have been released. Even the combination of Joe and Wayne Shorter, playing "In a silent way", falls short of what you expect from a...
Published on 14 Nov 2008 by S. Baron


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy epitaph for musical genius, 15 Dec 2008
By 
Bodhi Heeren (Copenhagen) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 75th (Audio CD)
He played jazz and rythm'n'blues, made classical works, was a seminal voice on Miles Davis' groundbreaking jazzrock records in the 60s. And co-led one of the finest, most daring bands ever: Weather Report.

But the last years of his life was mainly devoted to fruitful explorations into world music and a brimming amalgam of African, South American and European music. Playing, like here, mainly with musicians from 'third world' countries.

An important move in a time where the West seems to isolate itself more and more in agressive self-righteousness. And providing him with the inspiration to continue to develop his musical palette to the very end.

This CD, mostly recorded live in Lugano on his 75th birthday, is clear testimony to the brilliance of his vision. The excellent rythm section of the harddriving yet subtle drumming of Paco Sery and bassvirtuoso Linley Marthe, the last, but in no way least, in the long, illustrious line of formidable Zawinul-bassplayers. Add to that a three-piece percussion-section, whose dense and ferrocious playing reminds of another visionary world music embassador, Carlos Santana. The percussionists, among them the beautiful Sabine Kabongo, also add vocal chants. And on top of that the vocoder vocals and wonderfully weird keyboards of the maestro himself, as far out and adventurous as ever.

However awesome the tracks with Zawinul Syndicate are things move to a higher realm when Zawinul reunites with Wayne Shorter for a completely transcendental "In A Silent Way" (recorded in Budapest). To hear these two musical giants reunited again is just as emotional as the recent Cream and Led Zeppelin reunions, perhaps even more so due to Zawinul leaving his body so shortly after.

This is art born out of the eternal, nor aimed at the marketplace but for the more appreciative humanity in a hopefully not too distant future. Let those who have ears hear.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent justified celebration of a relentless genius, 25 Dec 2013
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This review is from: 75th[2CD+DVD] (Audio CD)
DVD offers brilliant footage of the eclectic band under a Lugano sky - with the ever demanding Joe setting the pace
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful, 9 July 2011
This review is from: 75th (Audio CD)
As an avid Weather Report listener, I'm always on the lookout for similar music. But saying that, not all Weather Report tracks and albums did it for me. As the band played through the years and different artists joined then left, the musical style of Weather Report changed. Although of course Zawinul was always there, providing a constant, without whom I don't think there would be a Weather Report. I feel that this album captures some of my favourite styles of Weather Report that undoubtedly owe to Zawinul's creative world inspiration.

In my quest to find music that somewhat compared to WR, people would advise Miles Davis, Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra amongst others but I always failed to hear the similarity. The music of WR has a polyrhythmic creativity so utterly random but at the same time so perfectly aligned - that, for me, it made all others including the above seem too logical, too prescriptive and hence too predictable in comparison.

This album continues the atmosphere that I loved about WR that was apparent in albums like '8.30', 'Black Market', 'Procession' and 'Mysterious Traveller'. Tracks like Nubian Sundance and Jungle Book come to mind. It has a similar vibe, but with more 'tribal' elements. This album does have a few tracks which have a kind of tribal voice/singing. To be honest I'd prefer less of it, particularly in that track named 'Cafy Andalusia' which is wrecked by dull voice parts. Thankfully, only the one track is wrecked and in the few other tracks on this album that have voice the parts, it fits well and doesn't subtract from the music that's being played - of course there are parts which sound fantastic and form a rich accompaniment to the music... it's a mixed bag really. I used to love the vocals that Manolo Badrena gave to both Weather Report and Zawinul Syndicate.....

What I never liked about Weather Report were their tunes that fell into what I call the stereotypical 'Pointless Jazz' bucket. The BBC reviewer above mentioned the album Forecast:Tomorrow as an entry to Zawinul for novices. I couldn't disagree more - although it does have some awesome tracks, that album has pretty much every track that I would dump into the above PJ bucket. Tracks that sound like they were written purely for innovation sake or for their technical prowess without even a hint of soul, passion, atmosphere..... I hear it, but I don't FEEL anything. Thankfully this album has none of that and is instead full of emotion, soul, spontaneity and LIFE!

I think, considering Zawinul's career, this album is a fitting end. This album is full of life and Zawinul certainly lived his. 'In A Silent Way' for me is exquisite. I've listened to every version of this track, my fave up til now being the one on '8.30', but this is just incredible. The ending is so touching and is such an unexpected variant of a tune I know so well and love, that I got a bit emotional. I'm guessing this is one of the last times that Zawinul and Wayne Shorter played together which makes the ending just that much more poignant.

I'm so chuffed with this album..... best WR related music I've heard since Zawinul at the North Sea Jazz Festival..... (which is amazing)..... RIP Joe Zawinul.....
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sad ending, 14 Nov 2008
By 
S. Baron "Baron" (Bath UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 75th (Audio CD)
I have been a fan of Joe Zawinul sinse 1965, and he has provided me with a great soundtrack for my life sinse then. "75th" is not the way I would like to remember him. I would go as far as to say that, had he not died this would not have been released. Even the combination of Joe and Wayne Shorter, playing "In a silent way", falls short of what you expect from a profesional recording.

If you want to hear the Syndicate at its best listen to "Vienna Nights" a far better album.
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