Sunday, August 22, 2010


The New York based Absolute Ensemble, conducted by Kristjan Järvi, is and 18-piece electro-acoustic ensemble that fuses classical, jazz, rock and funk. Charles Mingus, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix have found a place on the bill with Bach, Stravinsky and Schoenberg and the works of new composers whom the band is often the first to promote. They have also performed works by the Beatles, Frank Zappa, John Adams and Michael Daugherty.

Six years ago, the ensemble did a superb concert series entitled "Absolute Zappa". The concerts featured Napoleon Murphy Brock and Mike Keneally. I caught them in Köln. Thinking about MK playing the 'Uncle Remus' melody on guitar, still gives me goosebumps...
Too bad that this never got released on album. (the website does offer some of the Zappa pieces on their music player !!).

Anyway, when I received "Absolute Zawinul" as a gift about a month ago, I was really curious to find out what it would sound like.
"Absolute Zawinul" had the Absolute Ensemble working together with Joe Zawinul (of Weather Report fame) and with members of the Zawinul Syndicate. Joe Zawinul insisted that they would record new material. He wanted the project to show the musician he had become, not the musician that he had been.

The result is fabulous. "Absolute Zawinul" is a fine mixture of modern jazz, classical music and world music. I love it.
Joe Zawinul died on September 11, 2007, during the finishing days of the album.
He could not have asked for a more impressive tribute.

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