Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate - 75th (3 stars)

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Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate - 75th

The concert represented on this live 2-CD set was recorded on the late Joe Zawinul’s 75th birthday on 7 July 2007 in his native Vienna (he died only a couple of months later). Despite the landmark occasion, it doesn’t really add all that much to earlier releases, including another live double, Vienna Nights (2005), also featuring the soaring vocals of Sabine Kabongo, but it captures the veteran fusion maestro and the final line-up of his band in fine form.

The format allows them to stretch out on some fine world-jazz grooves, propelled by Paco Sery’s powerhouse drumming and lots of spacey synth and colourful percussion. An additional track from an August concert in Hungary features his Weather Report co-leader, Wayne Shorter, on a version of Zawinul’s classic ‘In A Silent Way’, arguably the piece which started the whole fusion ball rolling when he recorded it with Miles in 1969.

BHM/Birdjam

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