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The Zawinul Syndicate in Copenhagen Jazzhouse, Denmark November 9, 1999
by Soren Noah

I was lucky to get 2 tickets for one of the two concerts in Copenhagen Jazzhouse in early November. I was almost sure, that my good old friend, Niels Plaschke, would join me at this event. And he did.

Zawinul played with the band a year ago on his very own 65'th birthday during the "Copenhagen Jazz Festival" - and actually he had played in a smaller town called Vejle in april this year (1999). He LIKES Denmark (that's what he said !!).

What we experienced was an extraordinary (but reletively short) show featuring the grand old man on his toes - keeping the young guys in the band busy !! Joe was indeed in rare form that night.

I've got a few records with the band: The Immigrants (88), Lost tribes (92) and World Tour (98) - and actually I didn't recognize much of the music. But what the hell !! You can get more information about the actual set by reading another review by Dick Koster: "Joe Zawinul Live in Groningen & Tilburg/Holland 19 & 20 october" (

I know Zawinul mostly from Weather Report (I've got ALL the official records), and I've always been a great fan of his ingenius keyboard-sounds.

The band that we saw this night was: Victor Bailey on bass (when Joe presented the band he said: "This guy has played with Madonna … now it's good to see him back in music again …!!") Manolo Badrena (vocals and percussion), Gary Poulson (guitar) and the new drummer Kharim Ziad.

I had tears in my eyes when they did "Continnum" (from the first Jaco album called "Jaco") featuring Victor Bailey (!!) on high pitched vocals honoring Jaco Pastorius. Only Joe's gentle sounds, bass-guitar and a little percussion on the top - that was very great moments !! The words in the song went "… do you know who Jaco was" and everybody did !!

I've never seen Manolo live before - but I tell you: HE'S A MONSTER !! When other percussionists play with their hands AND feet, Manolo plays with his LEFT hand … and sings and laughs, too !! My god, he's fantastic and a gift to the and. No wonder Joe is keeping Manolo close to him.

Gary Poulson (Poulsen is a danish name !!) played very anonymous I think. Almost percussive and with very little solo. I saw him after the show in conversation with some people, and he really seems like a very nice guy ! Gentle, smiling and a very human kind.

Victor needs no comments - he just plays fantastic. This very black, thin guy from Philadelphia simply play anything. If a bug sits on the music-sheet he plays that, too. He can play quiet and laid-back and he can play like a machinegun (very much like Jaco). And he CAN also sing, though I guess he is better off playing the bass. However his Tribute to Jaco was indeed heart-shaking and very warm-felt. It was obvious, that Joe enjoyed this part, too.

The new boy (at least he looks like a young boy) Kharim Ziad from Algeria played just fantastic, and Joe had very great words for him. He has a unique technique - he can play anything so naturally and "easy" no matter how difficult it is (I'm a drummer myself !! so I know). He's an unknown name right now (or was) but he will definitely be a serious musician on the scene in the years to come.

This really was a night to remember …

Thanx for your time !

Søren Noah, Copenhagen 22. december 99




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