Continuing on his long history of superlative live albums, this latest one doesn't disappoint on any level. Featuring the usual rich texture-mapping of acoustic and electric flavours, Zawinul takes the listener on a journey of the mind and the universe as tracks veer from the familiar to the unforeseen. Creating new environments for familiar pieces, you experience the joy of discovering that a track that you thought was new, was actually a fresh interpretation of an old favourite (Procession in particular) as well as listening to new experiences such as poetry set to music. Zawinul has consistently been at the forefront of the attempt to push forward the boundaries of music that brings together the many influences from tribal to the eclectic. Unlike all the others, however, his attempts are NEVER contrived or artificial. This is music from the heart, from the soul, and all thanks to the fact that he has an unusual and rare combination of intelligence, talent and soul. Pushing through his mid-60s, we are not too sure how long Zawinul can continue on his grueling schedule of live performances, but as long as he does, he will bring pleasure to the souls and minds of all who hear him. May your God continue to bless you, Joe.
Having found all of Zawinul's post-Weather Report albums a bit lukewarm & sterile I was overjoyed when I heard "World Tour". This is exactly how the Zawinul Syndicate is supposed to sound: pieces like "Slivovitz Trail" and "Bimoya" were made for this kind of groove-driven funkin' performance. Just take "Bimoya" and the fabulous "N'Awlins" from disc one and you'll have a set of songs that won't be surpassed by any jazz-funk you'll ever hear. Add "Patriots", "Indiscretions", "Slivovitz Trail" and "Two Lines" and you'll have a ready-made best-of-jazz-funk album. (To be honest, "Two Lines" is the only track on this album that sounded better in the studio version, but the live version here is still good enough to deserve its place.) In fact, there's only one weak track on the album and that's actually a home-recorded studio piece: a pointless bit of piano doodling called "When There Was Royalty". I can't overstate how good this album is. If you're only going to buy one CD in your entire life it should be this one.