Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Joe Zawinul

My first thought on hearing about Joe Zawinul's unexpected death this morning was that he had always seemed too tough to die — sort of the jazz version of Jack Palance or Charles Bronson. Zawinul could've been a great boxer; he had that attitude of never backing down, and his bristling ego was cut with just enough intelligence (to say nothing of talent) to make you forgive him any boast.

Despite the earlier demise of Michael Brecker, Zawinul's death seems to hit harder for those of us who came of age in the jazz-rock fusion era.

DownBeat has assigned Zawinul's obituary to me, so I'll be listening and thinking about him for the next couple of weeks, and remembering how many hours I've spent in his musical company over the years.

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