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The Zawinul Syndicate — Black Water (1989)

The Zawinul Syndicate — Black Water (1989)

        The Zawinul Syndicate — Black Water (1989)
♦»   “One day I heard a pianist play `Honeysuckle Rose,’ … and I was hooked. I said, `What is that?’ He said, `jazz,’ which was a word I had never heard, and I asked him to spell it for me. My life was changed after that.” — Joe Zawinul
Birth name: Josef Erich Zawinul
Born: July 7, 1932, Vienna, Austria
Died: September 11, 2007, Vienna, Austria
Album release:
Record Label: Tristar/CBS
01. Carnavalito      5:40
02. Black Water      5:13
03. Familial      4:59
04. Medicine Man      5:46
05. In The Same Boat      4:42
06. Monk’s Mood      2:11
07. Little Rootie Tootie      4:47
08. They Had A Dream      5:14
09. And So It Goes      1:35
♦»   Recorded at Studio Ultimo, Los Angeles; Music Room, Malibu; Front Page Recorders, Costa Mesa
♣   Carl Anderson Vocals
♣   Marsha Burns Production Coordination
♣   Dr. George Butler Executive Producer, Liner Notes
♣   Kevin Dorsey Vocals
♣   Paul Ericksen Engineer, Mixing
♣   Lynn Fiddmont Percussion, Vocals
♣   Lynne Fiddmont Guest Artist, Percussion, Vocals
♣   Joe Gastwirt Preparation
♣   Bernie Grundman Mastering
♣   Scott Henderson Guest Artist, Guitar (Electric), Slide Guitar
♣   Dorian Holley Vocals
♣   Myungo Jackson Guest Artist, Percussion
♣   David Mitson Preparation
♣   Thelonious Monk Composer
♣   Jacques Prévert Composer
♣   Cornell Rochester Drums, Guest Artist
♣   Gerald Veasley Bass, Composer, Guest Artist, Narrator
♣   Fred White Vocals
♣   Erich Zawinul Artwork, Illustrations
♣   Ivan Zawinul Mixing, Overdubs, Programming, Vocal Overdubs
♣   Joe Zawinul Accordion, Composer, Keyboards, Korg Synth., Mixing,  Producer
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell;  Score: ***
♦♣   With a few changes in personnel, the Zawinul Syndicate continues to be Joe Zawinul’s personal vehicle for pan–global fusions of jazz, Afro–Latin rhythms, rock and whatever world music he can lay his hands on. Again Zawinul keeps a configuration of vocalists on board, including his own gritty electronically processed voice, and he even dusts off his childhood accordion for a bit of Austrian local color on “Medicine Man.” The leadoff track, a group remake of “Carnivalito” recorded live in Copenhagen, is, oddly enough, inferior to Zawinul’s solo version — too cluttered. But with the South African freedom–fighting, percolating “Black Water,” the Syndicate is back on track, empowered as always by Zawinul’s unquenchable urge to swing right in the pocket. And far from being predictable in its format, the Syndicate takes considerable time out to do Thelonious Monk’s “Monk’s Mood” and "Little Rootie Tootie” in amazingly reverent, though electronic, fashion. One can, however, do without bassist Gerald Veasley’s spoken admonition to Monk’s critics that reeks of PC.
♦♣   With Laboriel preferring session work to touring, Zawinul needed a special musician to supply the band’s bottom end, and he found him in Gerald Veasley, a bass player from Philadelphia who would anchor the Syndicate rhythm section for years to come. “Cornell recommended Gerald,” Joe remembers, “and Scott went to hear him with Grover Washington, Jr., and really liked him. So we brought him to the house right after he played with Grover at the Hollywood Bowl. And man, within two tunes we knew this was the guy. He could lay down a groove that hurt and he had a great personality. He had everything.”
♦♣   Rounding out the original Syndicate were percussionist Muyungo Jackson, who later joined Miles Davis’ band, and Lynne Fiddmont, a versatile performer who could sing, dance, play keyboards and percussion, and subsequently went on to a successful solo career. The band hit the road, playing its first concert in New Jersey. “It was funny,” Zawinul says of that first night, “because the power fluctuated so much that the keyboards went in and out of tune. It was really strange. It was the weirdest concert. It was in one of those funny night clubs, hardly any people there.” From that inauspicious beginning, the Zawinul Syndicate was off and running.
♦♣   “Then we went to Europe,” remembers Zawinul, “and right from the beginning, people liked the band immediately.” The Syndicate recorded Black Water, its second album for Columbia, in 1989 and continued to build a following throughout the world. Bill Summers replaced Jackson on percussion, and was himself later replaced by Bobby Thomas, Jr., a Weather Report alumnus whose unique brand of hand drumming was heard to good effect on Weather Report’s 1981 album Night Passage. ♦♣   http://www.zawinulonline.org/articles/20_years/
Website: http://www.joezawinul.com/

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