Joe Zawinul - synthesizers, voice
Bobby McFerrin - improvised voice
Carl Anderson, Dee Bellson, Alfie Silas - ensemble voices
1. The Harvest
2. Waiting For The Rain
4. The Great Empire
6. 6 A.M./Walking On The Nile
The latest edition of the magazine " Jazzwise " refers to
this album as a solo tour de force from the keyboard player Joe Zawinul.
Admittedly there are added voices including some improvisation from
Bobby McFerrin, but this really is all about the music of Zawinul
and the point he had reached at this period of his career. This is
his first release after the break up of Weather Report and is indeed
the first solo recording by him since 1970.
It helps to listen to this with a conception of the context with regards
to the technology available in 1986. This multi - tracked and layered
recording represents the cutting edge of electronic music at this
point in time and the use of synthesized voices is quite a novel idea.
Zawinul had already used this idea on tracks such as "Birdland"
but had not previously gone so far down this avenue. He was later
to use vocally controlled synthesizers which he was at least partly
responsible for the development of. In many ways this idea brought
Jazz in a complete circle back to the times when instruments assayed
to emulate the inflections, tones and idiosyncrasies of the human
The other significant aspect of this session is the growing awareness
and interest in " World Music ". Zawinul and his various
companions in Weather Report had reflected this trend in many of their
compositions over the years but this is the first time that there
had been such an obvious and total commitment. The influences here
are many and widespread in their derivation.
As one would expect, Zawinul's performance is excellent throughout
- here is a man who was comfortable as an outstanding hard bop pianist
for many years with Cannonball Adderley and then be equally at ease
as the main guru of electronic jazz or fusion - his music has eventually
come to cover so broad a spectrum as to be beyond category.
This music has grown on me increasingly with repeated listening, and
I have found it to be not only a highly significant historic document
but also a most rewarding aural experience.