Austria: Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul is beyond doubt the most important Austrian jazz musician.

Born in Vienna on July 7, 1932, he began his classical piano training at the Vienna Conservatory at the early age of 7.

In 1959, he was given a scholarship by the Berklee College of Music in the USA. He had only been studying for three weeks when Maynard Ferguson recruited him into his band, the start of his rise to fame in the USA.

Miles Davies recognised the extraordinary talents of this Austrian musician and produced six albums with him in 1960.

From 1970 on, there followed 15 hugely spectacular and successful years as keyboarder with Weather Report. It was during this time that he composed classical jazz pieces such as "Birdland".

It was practically incidentally that he invented hip hop. He also created the boogie-woogie waltz, likewise hip hop but in 3/4 time.

Since the middle of the 1990s, Joe Zawinul has been touring with his current band, the Zawinul Syndicate.

In 2001 and 2002, he was elected Keyboarder of the Year, and he has also received many awards in Austria and Germany. The issue of a commemorative stamp by the Osterreichische Post AG is without doubt a further highlight of his career.

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