I Zoe: Sunshine on a Rainy Day (Poiydor) Summery. ﬂuffy fun from the woman whose second name is ‘Rullock‘. Not that such things matter; Zoe hasthe kind of buoyant. sensual voice that the dance heat was built to underpin in the first place. Digestible and palatable in a marshmallowy sort of way. (CMcL) I ilowie J. & Co: Come Together (Ariola) Lennon and McCartney resurrected once more in the name of dancefloor crossover. More twee than its peers. it‘s saved by a bassline that cries out for a booming club system. Perhaps next week The Stone Roses will cover ()ctopus's Garden. (AMor) I The Sandklngs: Earthwheel (Sugarheach) Live. The Sandkings are indisputably in their element, but on record it’s still too easy to pick at all the niggling contrivances .that hamper their songwriting. ‘Earthwheel' features some choice indie jangle trappings. most notably (literal) nursery rhyme lyrics and mannered singing. tempered at least by some nicely layered backing vocals. But like so many other records of this type. it's also highly enjoyable. (F5) I Thee Hypnotics: Floatin' in My Hoodoo Dream (Situation Two) Same band, drawing from the same era as usual. but coming up with a different sound. Less growling psychedelia, more honky-tonk piano and slide. With inﬂuences this traditional. it still sounds surprisingly fresh. Worth a prize as the most uncommercial release of the year — only available as 12in. with six-minute A-side and eight-minute B-side. (AMor)
I Flowered Up: Phobia (Heavenly) ‘Phobia-ah. it‘s taking ovah me' . .. Unruffling and quite attractively baggy track. but it‘s on course to out-Monday the Mondays. and I‘ve doubts that even Shaun Ryder could pull it off. With that enunciation. Flowered Up miss by miles. (Mab)
I The Boo Redleys: Keleldoscoite EP (Rough Trade) After the blurred mayhem bliss of Ichabod 6: I, The Boo Radleys rework one track, slapon
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From Weather Report to The Zawinul Syndicate, Joe Zawinul has stood at the pinnacle ofjazz-rock fusion. Kenny Mathieson looks back on a stellar career.
Everybody has their own favourite. For me. it was always the shimmering soundscapes of Mysterious Traveller. weird, spacey. slightly unworldly, tough to pin down: for others. it was the gentle. sculpted labyrinths ofSweemighter, or the bravura constructs of Heavy Weather (which included the immortal ‘Birdland'. a melody destined to be played and re-played for generations). or the rawer. more open strategies of I Sing The Body Electric. Weather Report were the best. and there at the heart of that
monumental sound sat a wiry
expatriate Austrian keyboard player
named Joe Zawinul.
Whatever the contributions, often mammoth, of names like Wayne Shorter. Zawinul‘s most fruitful co-conspirator (‘Wayne and me never had to talk about the music — it‘s another spirit taking over‘) or the late Jaco Pastorious. Zawinul was the creative heart of the band. and its principal composer. He saw it through from start to finish. and has carried on that tradition, albeit less spectacularly. in Weather Update and now The Zawinul Syndicate, the latest version ofwhich he brings to Scotland for his first visit in several years.
The departure of Shorter to form his own band in 1985. and his refusal to sanction the continued use of the name (‘I understand that.‘ Zawinul says. ‘I wouldn‘t have wanted Wayne to go out and call his band Weather Report; it was our thing‘) brought the Weather Report era to a close. Zawinul. though. has continued to pursue the musical vision which brought the band into being in the first place back in 1971 . shortly after the principal collaborators had worked on Miles Davis‘s ground-breaking In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew sessions.
Long before. Zawinul had established a reputation as an acoustic jazz player with a wild and cantankerous streak, who liked to let everyone know that he had a high opinion of his own abilities. both qualities he admits to having liked in the late .laco Pastorious. He paid his
I dues with the likes ofCannonhall
Adderley. Coleman Hawkins. and Ben Webster; inevitably. his switch to electric keyboards and syntheziscr was viewed as a sell-out by those who saw jazz and electric music as inimical to each other.
‘ln an electric culture. everything can be applied to it. it doesn‘t mean that you have to be a jazz musician or a non-jazz musician to play with electronic instruments. It is an arena which gives you an opportunity for using what you want to use. Instruments. electric or acoustic. don‘t have a culture. They are merely tools. You use what you want to use, and then you come up with a personality ofyour own in the music you make.‘
Zawinul‘s determination to forge a distinctive voice using electronic means continues in The Zawinul Syndicate. but he has recently begun to re-introduce an acoustic element into the set. and has also gone back to the earliest roots of his musical development in his native Europe.
‘I am playing acoustic piano again. but I have also gone back to my greatest love. which is the accordian and its relatives. Those are synthesizers. That‘s all they are. An accordion is nothing but a synthesizer. but manually operated instead ofelectronically. That was my first instrument.‘
The Syndicate features the virtuoso guitarist Scott Henderson. whose own band Tribal Tech are currently riding high in the fusion stakes with their acclaimed album Nomad. Zawinul once said that he
32 The List 9 — 22 November 1990