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Zawinul Interview


MusicaL

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Great interview with Zawinul. I've wanted to go see the Zawinul Syndicate for eons, and just haven't been able to make it. Maybe someday soon...

 

Among the synths he uses, the Nord Lead 2 is listed. But, the image shown is of a Nord Lead 3.

 

So, does he use a NL2 or NL3?

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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Looks like a cool interview.

 

[rant]

 

...however, can we just change the title of the magazine to Jazz Keyboard and be done with it? The number of column inches dedicated to Jazz versus all other styles of music combined is just amazing. All of the features, all of the lessons and the back page article are all jazz. Then there are some gear tips and reviews.

 

What happened to rock, hip hop, dance/electronic, film scoring, classical, country, new age, ethnic and every other music style? The December issue is pretty much the same story, although one lucky country player made it to the back page. Aside from that it's jazz and gear.

 

I'm sure we can find some exceptions if we go back further (these were the only two issues I had laying around), but you have to admit the strong jazz slant of the magazine. Perhaps there's not much interesting to write about for rock or hip hop, it's mostly repeated simple chords. But at least it's more culturally relevant than "what has Chick Corea been up to?"

 

Sorry for the [/rant], but this sticks in my craw every time a new issue arrives.

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Perhaps there's not much interesting to write about for rock or hip hop, it's mostly repeated simple chords. But at least it's more culturally relevant
Synthetic,

 

(I don't want to get into a fight over this, so please don't interpet my comments as angry or condescending.) That said, how much is there to say about "mostly repeated simple chords"? As far as addressing cultural relevance, isn't that what mags like Rolling Stone are for? That said, I wouldn't mind hearing a little about things non-jazz that are still challenging to musicians; such as Orchestration Techniques (both traditional and jazz), Gospel, Ethnic, etc.

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I think it would be cool if they did a series along the lines of "Applied Concepts".

 

So you could have for example:

 

"Applied Harmonic Theory" which would give real examples of on-the-fly reharmonizations.

 

Or maybe "Applied Improvising" which could give insights from master improvisors as to thought processes, riffs, scales, etc...

 

I believe all skill levels and genres could benefit from additional insights into these areas.

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Originally posted by Music*aL:

Among the synths he uses, the Nord Lead 2 is listed. But, the image shown is of a Nord Lead 3.

 

So, does he use a NL2 or NL3?

I saw the Syndicate in late November in western Massachusetts. It was definitely a Nord 3, but this isn't to say that he didn't use the 2 or 2x at some point.

 

His other kit was: Prophet T8, Prophecy, M1 (with a modified joystick), VSynth rack, and another Roland rack: probably a JV or XV ROMpler.

 

By the way, he completely smoked the place. Awesome performance. He's still in his prime at 75.

Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Alesis Ion, Kawai K3M
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synthizen2,

 

Thanks for the clarification...

 

For those of you who don't subscribe to Keyboard Magazine, that's where the Zawinul interview was published. It's in the latest edition of that mag!!!

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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The picture in the magazine of his left rack doesn't quite match the list.

 

I saw him a few years ago in New Orleans at the Jazz Fest....WOW is all I can say. Devastating!

 

As for "Keyboard Jazz" magazine, I think that claim is way off base. It's been "hip-hip loop one finger Johnny" magazine for way too long; I just hope it turns into Progrock Johnny magazine too. (That brief "all of prog in 1.5 pages" issue does NOT count.)

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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First of all - it was time. Thanks to Keyboard; an interview with Joe was long overdue. I can't wait to read it.

I last saw him onstage last summer, with the German big band plus a bunch of mind-boggling musicians as the rhythm section. I have attended Zawinul concerts 10 or 12 times already, but he always leaves me with my mouth open. His unbelievable energy seems to grow with age instead of fading.

Finally: Too much jazz in Keyboard mag? I don't think so. To me, in this time period the magazine has reached its best balance of styles since the old times.

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Zawinul never stops exploring, and imho nobody has explored the musical possibilities of synths in more depth. He always seems to be at the top of his game, he never fails to astound me.

 

One thing he does which completely knocks my socks off is the reverse keyboard thing, where the sound gets lower the higher up the keyboard you play. Its easy to miss this (unless you are very close) but you can see a good example here, from 1978

 

I went to a question and answer session with the great man once, and I remember him explaining how the reverse keyboard helped him to be free of preconceived patterns, and that it added a hint of the unexpected.

 

Interestingly, someone asked what he practiced, and he said that he only did one exercise - the chromatic scale, but only using the 3 4 and 5 fingers, as they are the weakest and need the most work. Its a good one!

 

(btw-i have a recent video of the syndicate in holland where he is using a nord3, but i am pretty sure he is just using it to trigger samples/modules, as the sounds are quite familiar from earlier albums)

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Joe has been one of my favorite players going back to when I first saw him with the Cannonball Adderly group back in the 60's. Funny, I had just purchased the Vienna Nights music on Itunes this week and the very next day I get the article in Keyboard. They have his entire keyboard setup pictured which was a surprise to me seeing some of the older keyboards that he still uses like the M1. If you like Joe and you dont suscribe to Keyboard, make sure you get a copy of this months magazine and read it.

 

What I enjoyed reading most in the interview is Joe stating that a Synth is not a piano and can't be played like one. I have been saying this for decades, after listening to pianists that bought a synth and then think that they are now a synth player. Many of them sound like awful trying to do this, and they just don't get the difference between the two instruments.

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Originally posted by Beeboss:

... One thing he does which completely knocks my socks off is the reverse keyboard thing, where the sound gets lower the higher up the keyboard you play. Its easy to miss this (unless you are very close) but you can see a good example here, from 1978

...

I was interested to see that he starts with the Arp 2600 keyboard (in the middle over the Rhodes) reversed, but then flips it back to normal orientation for the more traditional solo that he takes on it about 7 minutes into the clip.

 

... and it was a treat to see/hear Jaco playing well and looking good.

 

Larry.

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Originally posted by Bobsk8:

What I enjoyed reading most in the interview is Joe stating that a Synth is not a piano and can't be played like one. I have been saying this for decades, after listening to pianists that bought a synth and then think that they are now a synth player. Many of them sound like awful trying to do this, and they just don't get the difference between the two instruments.

Definitely. Its the same between piano and organ. They are two completely different instruments with a similar interface.

 

Zawinul is the man. I'm going to have to pick this issue up. Does Keyboard ever do anything about Scott Kinsey?

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I, too, will have to pick up that issue. I love Joe's work from the early solo stuff and Cannonball until late Weather Report. The Syndicate have the most amazing musicians and wonderful grooves and textures. Joe is amazing but does anyone else find the post WR stuff lacking in memorable melodies. Am I missing something; maybe it's thematter of finding the right way of listening. After all, for a while I didn't enjoy the Bailey/Hakim Weather Report and now I love it. Any ideas?
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I just finished it. Even though I know very little of his music I will always read interviews with guys like him. I always find these pieces extremely fascinating and inspiring. His work is definitely on the list of stuff I need to get.

 

JH

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Originally posted by Music*aL:

So, does he use a NL2 or NL3?

There's a couple of links (broadband/dial-up) at the bottom of this page ...

 

http://www.korg.com/sbytes/article.asp?ArtistID=170

 

The thing I notice about Joe, that regardless of the instrument he uses, he finds a Joe-ish tone. I don't mean to deconstruct the question. It's a valid one. I just find some comfort that most of my favorite synth players have a strong sense of what is musical, and managed to find that in whatever instrument they play. It's the lesser guys who find themselves at the mercy of their instruments ("you know the Nord sound is not very appealing to me") It may be easier to find the tone you like on some instruments than others. And it helps to have a variety of stuff as Joe does. But I see most of his intruments sounding like Joe.

 

Jerry

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Joe ain't fooling around with that T8, it has polyphonic after touch. Each key opens each filter (and parms) independently dependant on pressure if the envelope is assigned to pressure in the synth or module. I've seen him live out on Pier 42 here in NYC years ago. You can hear all those envelopes opening and closing under those master chops of his live and his patches are all idomatic and designed by himself! The other 2 players that probably stayed true to the synth mantra that come to mind in the old school fashion are - Garth Hudson (10 years ago with the Band Jerhico Tour - 2 6ft racks of modules - KX88/A80 controllers) and Leon Russel (that 'Thing' rig of his with all those old EV10 pedals and modules and computer and screen)....

 

Joe's thing of course is completely different than Garth and Leon....

 

Mercy,

lb

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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Ernie, yep great stuff. Whenever you do an interview with your Artist of choice, I like to give the Licks section a try.

 

I found it interesting that he's still using not only a Prophet T8 (which I can understand) but also using an M1. I had to chuckle when he said he didn't like to keep buying new "s**t all the time. Great interview/article.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Ernie,

 

I enjoyed the transcriptions in the Magazine. I actually found a voicing of Joe's that Donald Fagan used also on AJA that I had always wondered about.

 

I couldn't find Joe in the Play tab though?

 

lb

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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Originally posted by Ernie Rideout:

Did you guys enjoy the Zawinul Hot Licks in the Play section?

I'm sure I will, when I get my copy in a month or so...

 

BTW I usually find the transcriptions in Keyboard fairly accurate. Just a small tip, though: Be sure to include metronome markings, as someone could be unfamiliar with the material.

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The last time I saw Joe was at Korg's 30th Anniversary Party at The Grove in Anehiem during NAMM a couple of years ago. Herbie Hancock played the first set, the Joe came on. I can't really remember anything that Herbie did (and I'm a big fan), Joe's set was flat-out amazing.

 

I'd bet that Ernie was there...... ;)

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Originally posted by Phil W:

I'm going to retract my earlier dumb comment. I just found some really wonderful Syndicate stuff on Youtube with Linley Marthe on bass. Joe is always several steps ahead. Sometimes it takes me a while to catch up.

There was supposed to be a Syndicate DVD on the market about a year ago, but I was never able to locate a copy. There WAS a copy of Zawinul's "Weather Update" group, featuring Steve Kahn on guitar, and highly recommended despite the wooden audience (I think they gave all the front-row seats to local school board members, HOW can they NOT be at least tapping their feet?!?!?!?)

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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" "I think the synthesizer is an equalizer," he (Zawinul) told us back in 1977. "It's going to show more then any other instrument where a musician is at. It'll show what's in you; whatever is in you will be revealed. It'll show your scope as a musician." "

Quote from January 2007 Keyboard mag p.24

 

When I read the first part, I immediately thought he viewed the synthesizer as an EQ, and that he was going to describe how he made sounds. But then I read on and realized what he meant.

This is a great inspiration for young keyboardists like me. It gets me out of the mind set that synthesizers are just keyboard sound generators, and view them as an instrument. An instrument that you can take as far as you want to.

 

With this in mind, I am going to go program a new sound and find out what's in me :D

GIGO
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