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R.I.P. Joe Zawinul

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Joe Zawinul was perhaps the most innovative of the creative leaders of "jazz fusion." With Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, and Tony Williams, Zawinul helped shape the very electric sound of Miles Davis' touring band of the late 60's and contributed key compositions to the cornerstone recordings of jazz fusion, 1969's In a Silent Way and 1970's Bitches Brew.

Zawinul may be best remembered as a founding member of Weather Report, the fusion supergroup featuring Wayne Shorter and later Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine. The video above features Weather Report performing "Birdland" September 28, 1978 at the Stadthalle Offenbach in Frankfurt, Germany.

Zawinul lit up audiences until his final days -- having most recently performed in LA with his Zawinul Syndicate at Hollywood's Catalina Bar and Grill last November (when he also visited KPFK's Global Village). He was hospitalized last month in his native Austria, on the heels of a six-week tour and died today of cancer at 75.

More video after the jump.

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More from Stadhalle Offenbach 1978:

Zawinul's 75th Birthday Celebration, "Badia," Lugano, Switzerland 7.7.2007: