I want to depart from my usual plugging of gigs to bring you some of what I think are the coolest prog-jazz vids on YouTube and MySpaceTV. These vids will also give you a good idea of what I was digging during those transformative early teenager years we all experience where we wake up to the wide world around us.
Well, I was living in Berlin, Germany in 1971, age 12, as my dad was stationed there with the US Army. Here's a video of what SOME people were doing in Berlin at the time (namely Joe Zawinul - may he rest in peace! - and Wayne Shorter). After just having left Miles Davis legendary "Bitches Brew" cadre of musicians, they were forming a nascient band that people had not heard of before with a weird name - Weather Report.
This is some very rare, very early stuff from a composition that would be on the very first Weather Report release, self-titled in Europe and titled "Milky Way" in the US. I am surprised to find that even a number of Weather Report Fans don't even know this was their first album.
Anyway, there's a small subset of us that was digging Weather Report long before "Birdland", and we LOVE this early far-out stuff. Zawinul's appoach to the keys and composition are strikingly non-traditional, and a very young Miroslav Vitous and John Surman are also in these sessions. You've gotta stretch to appreciate this stuff, but if you're willing to drop your old ideas about "songs" and other traditional ideas, you will be rewarded with a glimpse into the genius of every one of these players. Sure, Zawinul is the group leader here, but each of these musicians is amazing in their own right. Check it out:
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