Joe Zawinul at 65

joeZawinulHere is a very interesting 1996 interview with keyboardist and composer Joe Zawinul from 1996 conducted by Howard Mandel for The Wire.

“I’m part Hungarian, part gypsy–”
And a Viennese composer.
“Yes, I am!–though this symphony is all improvised. I always did that,” he says. “All the Weather Report stuff was improvised. I believe because of that it has a little more natural feel to it.
“I never could sit down and take the time”–as he supposes classical era composers would have even if they’d been able to document their own complex works on tape. “To me, sitting and composing pen to paper, is constrictive and analytical. When I make arrangements I have to do that, orchestrate–and I write every note myself, at the piano. I fuck with it for a long time. I don’t change any of the improvisation. But you know, you have 100 people to work with,” he shrugs, humbly conceding, “I cannot play everything myself.”

Click here to read Joe Zawinul at 65

—Peter Blasevick