Joe Zawinul

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AllMusic Review by

If Joe Zawinul was out to prove that he didn't need Weather Report anymore, he succeeded spectacularly in this virtual one-man show. Zawinul recorded many of the vocals (assisted now and then by Bobby McFerrin and a vocal trio) and all of the synthesizer and rhythm machine tracks himself in his Pasadena home studio, yet the results are anything but mechanical. Zawinul in fact achieves a rare thing: He manages to get his stacks of electronics to swing like mad in these pan-global grooves that pick up where WR was about to leave off. "Waiting for the Rain" generates a ribbon of tension and anticipation, while "Zeebop" is a noisy rush of pure adrenaline. And "Carnivalito" is a total gas, a percolating, outrageously joyous evocation of a carnival that would put the world's best percussion players out of business if Zawinul's swinging talent could be bottled and sold. This is an important, overlooked album because it proves that electronic instruments can reach your emotions and shake your body when played by someone who has bothered to learn how to master them.

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