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Joe Zawinul RIP

Joe ZawinulThe AP and Reuters are reporting that keyboardist, composer, and Weather Report co-founder Joe Zawinul has passed away:

VIENNA, Austria (AP) – Jazz legend Joe Zawinul, who soared to fame as
one of the creators of jazz fusion and performed and recorded with Miles Davis, died early Tuesday, a hospital official said. He was 75.

Zawinul had been hospitalized since last month. A spokeswoman for Vienna’s Wilhelmina Clinic confirmed his death without giving details.

Zawinul won widespread acclaim for his keyboard work on chart-topping Davis albums such as “In A Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew,” and was a leading force behind the so-called “Electric Jazz” movement.

In 1970, Zawinul founded the band Weather Report and produced a series of albums including “Heavy Weather,” “Black Market” and “I Sing the Body Electric.” After that band’s breakup, he founded the Zawinul Syndicate in 1987.

Zawinul is credited with bringing the electric piano and synthesizer into the jazz mainstream.

This past spring, he toured Europe to mark the 20th anniversary of the Zawinul Syndicate. He sought medical attention when the tour ended, the Viennese Hospital Association said in a statement last month.

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VIENNA (Reuters) – Keyboardist Joe Zawinul, who played with Miles Davis and helped create the sound of jazz fusion, died from cancer in Vienna on Tuesday, local news agency APA reported, quoting his son Erich.

“Joe Zawinul was born on July 7, 1932 in earth time, and on September 11, 2007 in eternal time. He lives on,” APA quoted Erich Zawinul as saying.

Zawinul, 75, had been admitted to the Wilhelmina Clinic in his native city last month. The hospital said it would give a statement later in the day.

Zawinul went to the United States in his 20s and found fame as a keyboardist and a composer in trumpet legend Davis’s first electric band, playing on the “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew” albums that pioneered jazz fusion in the late 1960s.

In 1970 he founded Weather Report, a band that did much to bring electric piano, synthesizers and African and Middle Eastern rhythms to mainstream audiences in a jazz setting.

Zawinul has fronted the “Zawinul Syndicate” for the past 20 years. He had planned to give a concert in Vienna’s concert hall on September 29.

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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