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Vienna Nights: Live at Joe Zawinul's Birdland

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Dec. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Zyx Music Gmbh
  • ASIN: B0008FMH6M
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,522 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What can you say about Joe Zawinul other than a superb musician, composer and bandleader? I am a great fan of Weather Report and in some ways this is a logical extension of that band. It is like Weather Report has morphed into a more diverse world music band without Wayne Shorter and with a particular African flavour. I saw this band live in 2005 and I was so impressed that I bought this. My only real criticism is, that unlike the live performance I saw, Joe Zawinul tends to dominate this performance a bit too much. The other band members are so talented and they do not get the chance to shine quite as much as they did when I saw the band.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Zawinul Syndicate played music of many layers, sometimes quirky, often insightful, but always
leaving you wanting more - this is no different from other live recordings, in that respect.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa006bc18) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x966f463c) out of 5 stars Still Smokin' at 73 22 Oct. 2005
By Brian Whistler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Zawinul ever since I walked into the Whiskey a GoGo in 1972 and was knocked out by Weather Report for the first time. In the next 30 odd years Zawinul strived to create a world-jazz hybrid that would break down cultural differences, while preserving the distinct flavors of the individual cultures he is indebted to. This current incarnation of the Syndicate may very well be the most refined distillation yet of that ideal.

The new album actually has two different bands recorded at Zawinul's Birdland on separate dates, although bass player Linley Marthe and singer Sabine Kabongo appear in both settings. The material is mostly culled from Zawinul's last few releases. However, there are a few surprises as well.

One such surprise is the addition of the very talented drummer Karim Ziad. A morrocan born percussionist who was a collaborator with Nguyen Le on the the ground breaking world-jazz cd, 'Maghreb and Friends' (among others,)Ziad is a remarkable composer as well as drummer. His two offerings are standouts.(Check out the definitive version of 'Louange' on Magrehb-it's awesome!)He also possesses a killer singing voice.

In fact, the thing that makes this incarnation of the Syndicate stand out is the addition of all those voices. With this lineup, the group can easily take the listener on a travelogue that includes stops in north Africa,the Middle East, Spain, India and the Balkans. Not to mention Europe and the USA.

Sabine Kabongo alone can span continents with her unique vocal stylings. The album kicks off with a great version of Salif Keita's infectious afro-pop tune, 'Y'elena' (off of the Zawinul produced disc, "Amen"-a worthy addition any Zawinul collection.) Special mention must be made of her standout interpretation of "Duke Ellington's Come Sunday".

The addition of all these voices takes much of the vocal duties away from Zawinul, which, in this listener's opinion, is a good thing. He's still up to his old vocoder tricks here, but they're less prevalent than before, being more integrated into the vocal mix.

The other surprise is the re-visiting of two Weather Report tunes, Boogie Woogie Waltz and Badia. I feel that serving up Badia at a breakneck tempo did not do the tune justice, which had a more ambient and mysterious quality at it's original tempo. Boogie Woogie Waltz is very abbreviated here, and is more a nod to the tune than a full exploration.

While forging a universal music has always been the underlying principle in Zawinul's music, the addition of an imternational ensemble who can sing in their native tongue lends the material an authenticity never before achievable. Never before has Zawinul been able to realize his grand dream of making a universal music more onvincingly, a music that brings people of all cultures together, each singing together in their own unique voice.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x966f4564) out of 5 stars Impressive World Music 24 Aug. 2005
By Jazz Analyst - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a hard-driving, highly musical effort from one of the icons of fusion. I guess he is 'Joe' Zawinul again. I have to admit I was a big fan of the early Weather Report (Pre-Jaco Pastorius). In those days it was just 'Zawinul'. But this is twenty five years later. You must keep in mind that this is a seventy-something musician we are talking about here. The tunes sound fresh and lively. This is well-recorded live album. The music on Vienna Nights to me is similar to the music on the Weather Report records Mr. Gone and Heavy Weather, with more vocals. There is definitely an African flavor to the newer songs. The standout selections are 'Y'Lena', 'East 12Th Street Band', 'Borges Buenos Aires', and 'Come Sunday'. On the 'Buenos Aires' cut, there is a spoken Spanish vocal. I would assume that is Manolo Badrena, one of the Weather Report members from the old days who is on board for these sets. And, for you old fans, he includes covers of 'Boogie Woogie Waltz' and 'Badia'. This album will please Zawinul's old fans and also the 'New Jazz' fans. I did not give the album five stars because of the overabundance of vocals.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9623a354) out of 5 stars Vienna Nights 7 Oct. 2005
By Horace W. Bulger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I was curious about the direction The Zawinul Syndicate was headed, and since I didn't get a chance to see them live at the Chicago Jazz show this past summer, I was eager to hear the group. I was not disappointed. I would recommend this CD to Zawinul's fans.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96381ed0) out of 5 stars .....Another great work from Zawinul Syndicate..... 29 Aug. 2006
By michalis michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
For the last 7 years I've been a huge fan of Joe Zawinul and especially of Zawinul Syndicate. Seeing his work live in 3 occasions it was the three best concerts I've ever seen.

In general I don't like purchasing albums of live performances because usually they lack in sound quality and being a musician myself, i can spot minor details which would be corrected in a studio where a tune would be played as many times as required in order to be perfected.

But in this case......having heard FACES AND PLACES more than a thousand times....it is really a joy to listen to how, many of the original tunes, have progressed through the performances of the past 3 years. You can feel all the energy of a great band and the best you can do is close your eyes and imagine that you were there. Sound quality is great.

Definitely 5 stars and I recommend as a "must have" album for all Zawinul fans.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x964be444) out of 5 stars Enjoyable listening 25 July 2007
By Art Soares - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When I found out that this was out and heard the samples online, I had to have it. Joe Zawinul has brought me much joy through his music over the years and continues to do so. I feel that his music speaks to my soul. Here he sounds great! Great chops and great voice! In this live performance at his club in Vienna, the other band members of the Syndicate are also featured and perform very well: Scott Henderson, Sabine Kabongo and Nathan Townsley, who's able to live up to Zawinul's desire to play fast. (In hiring a drummer for the band after the swift exit of Paco Sery, he asked the prospect, "Can you play fast?") Most of the songs are uptempo, lively and enjoyable to listen to. At first I didn't enjoy "Blue Sound Note 3" but it grew on me. I like the original version by Weather Report better. My favorite on this CD is "East 12th Street Band", which I think is a smoker. I would recommend that Zawinul fans add this to their libraries. Glad to have it in mine!
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