Friday, October 27, 2006

pantheons and pandemonia

The Oct. 30th issue of the New Yorker lists Tomasz Stanko, Bennie Wallace and Cecil Taylor playing this week, among others. Then there's this blurb:

"Jazz at Lincoln Center: "Fusion Revolution." And so the barriers come down. With the appearance of The Joe Zawinul Syndicate within the hallowed confines of Jazz at Lincoln Center, fusion enters the pantheon."

In honor of these barriers coming down I'm rolling with Billy Cobham's Spectrum as I type.

I would love to interview Wynton Marsalis about this, but he's not giving interviews, at least not in connection with his appearance here in Santa Fe next week. I've only heard some of Zawinul's work prior to Miles and Weather Report, I think all of it with Cannonball Adderly. He plays extraordinarily well on a previously unreleased live 1966 recording with Adderly on Capitol, "Live at The Club;" the centerpiece is his own Requiem for a Jazz Musician. (It's a strange recording, as Cannonball was in the habit of handing out sticks to all of the audience members, and this loose "click track" makes for some odd moments).

There is a lot of meandering, self-indulgent live Weather Report up at YouTube, mostly posted by the Jaco groupies. This performance of Volcano for Hire from the later band at the Playboy Festival in LA is remarkable. It's great to hear Wayne Shorter stretching out some more, and the two-drummer setup (Omar Hakim and who?) is pretty wicked, except that the guy on the tom rack and percussion is often inaudible. Zawinul gets some twinkly synth solo time just before the break. The main line itself is pure Zawinul, much more sophisticated than what WR was doing on Birdland, etc. Victor Bailey's bass sound and attack is beautiful. I especially appreciate the odd, broken bop-like lines at about 3:20 that lead into the head.

here's to barriers coming down. And here's to Cecil Taylor tonight at Iridium on Broadway...CT, I hope you found American Spirit menthols somewhere in Manhattan.

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