It doesn't take long to introduce the stellar career of Joe Zawinul. He spent his childhood in Vienna where he learnt to play piano and experimented with jazz, the forbidden music banned during WW2, under cover of night. In 1958, he moved to the USA as a young man and quickly found his feet in the predominantly black jazz world, playing with the likes of Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis, for whom he wrote the timeless standard "In A Silent Way" and music from Bitches Brew.
During this period Zawinul went from supreme jazz pianist to solo compositional adventurer, pioneering a form of electric jazz that blended jazz, rock African and Caribbean music. He used a vocoder to incorporate his voice and relished a mix of many different soundscapes. Alongside Wayne Shorter, another Miles alumnus, he formed Weather Report, one of history's most successful fusion groups, and blossomed into the open-minded musical voyager he'd always been at heart: "I think I was about 6 years old when I realised that one sound alone wasn't really what I would like to hear."
From boxing in the backyard to innovating on five keyboards with a beer in his living room, Zawinul is a magnetic and individual screen presence. This documentary travels between his home in Malibu and his old haunts in Vienna, illuminating the mind of one of the most creative and exciting keyboardists of the 20th Century.
Munich Summer Piano Festival 1982
Salzburg Festival 1989