Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - 'Pedal Up'

Although I never saw the man in concert, one of the most memorable musical experiences of my life was listening to a cassette copy of The Inflated Tear on a Walkman early one misty morning in the grounds of a priory in Hertfordshire. It was the title track in particular that affected me, the beautiful melody pierced with haunting heartfelt cries that I took to represent the medical accident Kirk suffered as a young child that blinded him for the rest of his life. But perhaps they were cries of exaltation, because – good luck, bad luck, who knows? – maybe being blind was the making of him as a musician.

It certainly seemed to make him susceptible to what he saw in dreams. He dreamt his first name, Rahsaan, for example; and, the stuff now of legend, he dreamt how he would appear and sound playing three instruments at once. Reputedly, he went out the very next day to a music shop and tried every reed instrument in the place before being taken into the basement, where he found two outmoded members of the saxophone family once used in Spanish military bands: an elongated straight alto called (probably by Kirk himself) a stritch, and a kind of slightly bent version of a soprano called a manzello. However they got their names, Kirk somehow worked out a way of playing them both simultaneously in conjunction with his main instrument, the tenor sax. He created a unique and unforgettable sound resembling a one-man horn section playing descant ever-so-slightly discordantly: just one of the facets that made him on one hand a true original while laying himself open on the other to inevitable slights of gimmickry.

Here he is playing 'Pedal Up', his perennial rousing crowd-pleaser that I first heard on the coruscating live album, Bright Moments, the title that John Kruth would give to his biography of Kirk. One reviewer on Amazon described the album's impact as 'like eating your last pork chop in London England cause you ain't gonna get no mo'...' Well, perhaps. Kirk, like Thelonious Monk, was an inveterate wearer of remarkable hats and here he wears a top hat (and tails): a man who never did anything by halves (apart from the second disc of his three-sided double album, The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Colour, that is). It's a headlong, breathless rush of ideas from start to finish. 'Breathless' being the operative word, as another of Kirk's 'tricks' was circular breathing. Apparently, the business of taking air in as you blow is not quite so difficult as one might imagine, but the trick that Kirk mastered was to make it so seamless as to stretch the drama of the anticipated breath almost to breaking point.

The 'black master of black classical music' is introduced at the 1975 DownBeat magazine show of their poll winners of 1975 by Q himself, Quincy Jones, soon to make his remarkable transition from musician and arranger to producer of Michael Jackson et al. Après Q, le déluge. I even exhorted my wife to watch what follows, because it is so extraordinary: a blind man in top hat and tails playing a tenor and a stritch simultaneously and seemingly in one breath. She avowed that she'd never seen anything like it in all her born days. Note the way at just under the two-minute mark, Kirk removes the stritch to solo on the tenor without missing the slightest beat and then proceeds to emulate Coltrane's 'sheets of sound' technique, even throwing in the briefest of quotes from 'My Favourite Things' at around 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Again, without missing a beat, he pops the stritch back in for the conclusion of his solo before turning away and leaving the floor to McCoy Tyner. It's just a brief solo from the pianist, another torrential creative force, but it gives a good idea of how he paced and complemented Coltrane in his pomp for the five or so years he was with the master. Kirk then picks up the baton again and signals the band to slow things down around the four-minute mark for a final, solo performance during which he gives us another of his party pieces: playing two different tunes at once on different instruments – first with the stritch in a kind of Middle Eastern drone role as he solos on the tenor and then, briefly, as he appears to play two different tunes at different speeds. As his breath finally gives out, he turns to face drummer Lenny White – and it's all over. Next up, it seems, is Chick Corea, with whom White and bassist Stanley Clarke played for several years in Return To Forever.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk was indeed a showman and a crowd pleaser, but he was far more than that. With his eyes wide shut, he could sit in with Charles Mingus, he could do Coltrane, he could do New Orleans classical jazz, he could do gospel and big ballads, and he could do pop tunes. An album like Blacknuss, for example, is full of radical transformations – of Motown (Marvin Gaye's 'What's Goin' On' and Smokey Robinson's 'My Girl'), disco ('Never Can Say Goodbye'), soft-rock (David Gates' 'Make It With You') and soul (his brilliant take on Bill Withers' 'Ain't No Sunshine', which typifies the breathy flute technique he developed that would influence Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull for one. There's a great performance of his 'Serenade To A Cuckoo' that also illustrates this technique while giving a glimpse of another innovation, his 'nose flute').

He had a particular affinity for Burt Bacharach and the only video that came close to my chosen one was this performance from 1969 of 'I Say A Little Prayer', a song more associated with Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. It's another video that made me break out all over in goose bumps – for several reasons: for Kirk's and percussionist Joe Texidor's egregious hats; for Henry Pearson's hyperactive bass playing; for pianist Ron Burton's apparent calm among the musical mayhem; for the audience's sang froid in the face of the conflagration on stage (being 1969, maybe half of them were stoned). And was that an infinitesimal glimpse of Bill Wyman in the crowd when Kirk briefly plays all three of his saxes together?

One commentator suggests that Rahsaan Roland Kirk was the personification of the term 'life force'. Given the mistral of creativity that must have howled permanently through his cranium, it's maybe not so surprising that Kirk suffered a stroke in 1975 that paralysed half of his body. Given that it happened to a man who overcame childhood blindness to become such a one of a kind, it's maybe not so surprising that Kirk adapted his technique to play his instruments with one hand. He went on recording and touring until a second stroke carried him off in 1977. He was 41 years old, an age when many of us are just beginning to find our way in life. Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the multi-instrumentalist, dreamer and musical explorer, was extra-ordinary and un-classifiable. God keep you, Roland Kirk.

 

Monday, 2 January 2023

Milt Jackson & Bobby Hutcherson - 'Bags' Groove'

Any talk of 'jazz' and 'cool' has got to involve vibes in the discussion. I love the gentle tintinnabulation of the vibraphone. It's a beautiful if cumbersome instrument. That lovely resonant metallic ring has little in common with the plink of those toy xylophones that Santa once secreted in Christmas stockings. The vibes go particularly well with the Hammond B-3 organ and serve as an ideal complement to the piano and the electric guitar.

On the third and final occasion that I saw Roy Ayers, master of jazz-funk vibe-rations, he played a portable electronic, bonsai version of his customary Deagan vibraharp. It might have been more portable, but the sound of the former had nothing to do with that of the latter; the difference even more pronounced than that between the acoustic and the electric piano. So it has to be acoustic, but not necessarily metal: the West African balofon and the Colombian marimba are similarly rich and resonant, if generally alien to a jazz context.

Voted 'World's Best Vibist' in 1971, Bobby Hutcherson was one of the few vibraphone masters who also played the marimba. A regular of Blue Note sessions during the 1960s and '70s as both leader and sideman (with, for example, the even-more-regular guitarist, Grant Green, on the marvellous Idle Moments), his career with the label lasted longer than anyone other than Horace Silver. Most of his own sessions included the drummer Joe Chambers, who was a useful vibist himself. Apparently, the two of them were both arrested in New York's Central Park for possession of marijuana in 1967, the year of peace, love, dope and – one would hope – understanding. Despite recording mainly for Blue Note on the east coast, Hutcherson operated mainly on the west, the epicentre of cool jazz. Perhaps that's why he found his way into films like Round Midnight and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? I didn't spot him in either.

There's an abundance of great videos featuring Bobby Hutcherson on YouTube: so many that it renders choice a lottery. There is, for example, a fine rendition of one of his best-known numbers, a waltz written for his son Barry, 'Little B's Poem', that features flautist James Newton along with Miles Davis' rhythm section from his classic quintet of the '60s: Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. Maybe because it's a waltz, it feels just a little academic. Despite the stellar line-up, I felt it failed to spark. A re-union with a regular collaborator, McCoy Tyner, on a splendid version of John Coltrane's 'Moment's Notice' almost swung it for me, despite Eric Harland's (mercifully brief) drum solo.

But then I watched Bobby in the company of organist Joey de Francesco, who thought of him as 'the greatest vibes player of all time.' They serve up a gently swinging, after-hours version of a theme from the TV series, Naked City, Billy May's 'Somewhere In The Night'. Great solos by Hutcherson and de Francesco, by tenor saxophonist Ron Blake and guitarist Ulf Wakenius, along with a fascinating glimpse into the innards of the Hammond B-3 (a truly unwieldy instrument that the great Jimmy Smith used to convey to gigs in a converted hearse). So it has just about everything you could wish for. But this picky individual found Byron Landham's snare drum a little overbearing, sounding a little too like he was beating a dustbin lid. Sometimes you just can't beat a pair of wire brushes.

So I thought: If there's anything better than a vibraphone, it's two vibraphones. Bobby Hutcherson's harmonic sophistication and effortless swing influenced such modern-day masters of the instrument as Stefon Harris and Joe Locke. There's a fabulous bout of duelling mallets with the latter on 'Old Folks', with the vibe-masters old and new trading solos in the way that Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray or Sonny Stitt and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis used to do when the tenor sax ruled the Royal Roost and all the other clubs. Bobby wields two mallets, while Joe uses the more pianistic four-mallet technique developed by Gary Burton, the other seminal vibraphonist of the '60s. He it was who introduced me as a teenager to vibes: on BBC2's Jazz Scene at the Ronnie Scott Club. Little did I realise that one day I might be interested to learn that Gary Burton's four-mallet grip would be known as the Burton grip.

There I would have happily left it had I not found that Bobby Hutcherson also played in concert – also at Jazz Baltica, the annual German festival on the Baltic coast, but eight years earlier – with the man whose recording of Monk's 'Bemsha Swing' with Miles Davis inspired him to take up the vibes as a twelve-year old. Milt Jackson was indisputably the leading exponent of the instrument in the '50s, an era when the instrument was bedevilled with technical problems if you wanted to play it in an alternative way to the Lionel Hampton school of bashing the hell out of it as a percussion instrument. 'Bags', as he was nicknamed (for the bags under his eyes), conquered the recalcitrant beast to become probably the most influential vibraphonist of them all. When he wasn't dressed up in a dinner jacket, playing the Modern Jazz Quartet's slightly rarefied brand of jazz in the company of Percy Heath, Connie Kay and the band's musical director, pianist John Lewis, Milt Jackson could swing like the bopper he basically was. Dating back to 1952, 'Bags' Groove' was one of his hardiest perennial favourites. Here, the two senior vibraphonists, both eschewing the supplementary mallets and the Burton grip, go head to head – and tie to tie – in a sophisticated, swinging cutting contest. No doubt, a vibraphonist could spot a winner and wax lyrical on the different styles and techniques on show. Suffice to say that they play as seamlessly in tandem as they segue smoothly from one to the other. It's a close call, but Bobby's ambitious tie just shades it over Milt's more sober number.

Both of these giants of their instruments started their long careers as innovators: Milt Jackson as one of the young bebop revolutionaries who challenged the orthodoxy of swing music; Bobby Hutcherson as one of the generation of freer 'new thing' musicians who put the cat among the pigeons of hard bop, so to speak. To return to organist Joey de Francesco's assessment, 'Milt Jackson was the guy, but Bobby took it to the next level. It's like Milt was Charlie Parker, and Bobby was John Coltrane.' If so, they both appear very happy in their dotage to go back to free-swinging basics.

 

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Horace Silver Quintet - 'Song For My Father'

While on the subject of rhythm... Here's a man who was one of the first to get the funk into jazz. His 'Opus de Funk' came out in 1953, so he knew what he was about from the start. Horace Silver is celebrated as a leading precursor of a type of small-group soul-jazz that would prove really popular in the mid-to-late Fifties and on into the Sixties, embracing the likes of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Cannonball Adderley, the Jazztet, the Jazz Crusaders and Lee Morgan, whose smash, 'The Sidewinder', was the genre's commercial apogee. The keynote was simplicity: an emphasis on melody and rhythm allied to improvisations on (mainly) sax, trumpet and piano anchored to a catchy theme. Little room for the kind of contemporary experimentations of, say, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk.

Young Horace learnt both piano and tenor sax, which possibly contributed to a piano style that was rhythmic and uncluttered. His father, who handed Horace one of his middle names, Tavares, was originally from the Cape Verde Isles and you can detect the influence of the islands' unique indigenous music on Silver's version of jazz: a kind of joie de vivre tinged with a darker, melancholic edge. (That's the pianist's old man in a straw hat, puffing on a big fat cigar on the cover of Silver's most famous of his many, many albums for Blue Note, Song For My Father.)

His mother sang with a gospel choir, and the influence of gospel is clearly there, too, in his music's soulful simplicity. Before he ceded the enduring ensemble to Art Blakey, Horace Silver's Jazz Messengers had a hit with 'The Preacher'. Other titles he chose, like 'Sister Sadie', 'Juicy Lucy', 'The Jody Grind', 'Doodlin'', 'Finger Poppin'' and 'That Healin' Feelin'', give strong clues to Silver's house style. It must have had an effect on the young Ramsey Lewis, among others, whose piano trio would strike gold for the Chess label in the Sixties with the gospel staple, 'Wade In The Water'.

For once, it didn't take me long to find this video. As soon as I watched it, I knew I'd need look no further. It was one of those videos that bring copious tears to the eye, for some inexplicable reason known only to my innermost psyche. Perhaps it was the sight of Horace in a floral shirt, with his normally slicked-back hair falling chaotically over his eyes. Maybe it was the balmy Umbrian setting. Anyway, it's perfect in almost every respect: the setting, the number itself, the sound quality, the sharpness of image, the featured musicians, the ensemble and solo playing. 'Almost' because Bob Berg's otherwise splendid tenor sax solo maybe goes on about a minute too long and lapses into a bit of showboating: the squawking and over-blowing of a Coltrane, Sanders or Archie Shepp never seem to suit the intrinsically unfussy nature of soul-jazz. Still, it's otherwise a very fine solo, and unlike so many fellow jazzers of the time, Berg stuck religiously to a post-bop format rather than adopt a trendy, contemporary electro-jazz fusion – although he would go on to play for three years the following decade with the godfather of electrified jazz, Miles Davis.

The band is made up of Steve Beskrone, who does a solid job on electric bass; drummer Eddie Gladden, who was latterly most closely associated with Dexter Gordon; and Tom Harrell, one of the most cultivated and lyrical of modern trumpeters, who spent four years with Horace Silver and six the following decade with alto saxophonist, Phil Woods. He also had the distinction of playing with pianist Vince Guaraldi on some of the Charlie Brown TV specials. My first introduction to a favourite trumpeter – had I but known. It may not have been Horace Silver's classic quintet that spanned the late Fifties and early Sixties and included Junior Cook on tenor and the ever-splendid Blue Mitchell on trumpet (which you can catch in a superb recording of 'Señor Blues' from 1959 live in Paris, featuring a rather more neatly attired and coiffed pianist), but this was a band every bit as distinguished as Bob Berg's straw hat.

The pianist kicks things off with that famous riff that was borrowed by Donald Fagen for Steely Dan's 'Rikki Don't Lose That Number', the memorable opener of Pretzel Logic. The band joins in, as tight as a pair of support stockings, before Horace Silver takes the first solo, demonstrating his percussive, crab-like technique on the eighty-eights. Note the way he ups the tempo at around the three-and-a-half minute mark and then observe how first Tom Harrell and then Bob Berg mirror this idea in their solos. This was a well rehearsed band. After another statement of theme, Silver rounds things off with a nice coda that echoes his first, longer solo. Stunning.

By the time of this performance, Silver was touring only six months per year in order to spend more time at home with his family. His 28-year tenure with Blue Note would end with the Seventies, and the following decade he reduced his schedule still further. An increasing interest in matters spiritual led him to write lyrics for some of his compositions and by the time I saw him, at the Brighton Dome in 1987, he had added a vocalist to his group of the time: Andy Bey, whose fruity baritone was as disconcerting as Johnny Hartman's or Billy Eckstine's. Still, one shouldn't spurn nor regret the chance to see a legend in concert.

After dabbling in multi-media productions and running a not very successful record label, Silver signed for first Columbia and then Impulse! before fading from the scene as he gradually succumbed to Alzheimer's disease. Even so, he made it to 85, a great age for a jazz musician. Significantly, he entitled his first release for Columbia It's Got To Be Funky. Horace Silver was a man with a credo.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Weather Report - Teen Town

I am a man who likes his rhythm – one reason, I guess, why I love Latin Jazz so much: all the glories that you associate with jazz, but with added congas and timbales. Rhythm and melody: it’s a lethal combination. Weather Report always seemed to have it in spades. Apart from the occasional tendency to noodle, the band was for the most part a combination of memorable compositions allied to some of the hardest rhythms and fiercest percussion this side of Tito Puente. The rhythm section seemed to change as frequently as Atlantic weather fronts, but the roll-call of percussionists reads like an international who’s who: Airto Moreira and Dom Um Romao from Brazil, Alex Acuna from Peru, Manolo Badrena from Puerto Rico and drummers of the calibre of Alphonse Mouzon, Chester Thompson and Pete Erskine, who powered one of Weather Report’s prime ‘competitors’, Steps Ahead.

The quintessential 1970s jazz-funk outfit in some respects, Weather Report was the lovechild of two remarkable talents. Austrian composer and keyboards wizard, Josef Zawinul, a kind of Rick Wakeman in a hat like a tea-cosy, studied – at a prodigiously young age – classical music at the Vienna Conservatory. Legend has it that he saw the film Stormy Weather an unfeasible 24 times. It must have marked him for life, because he knew then that he wanted to play jazz with black musicians – which is exactly what he did. Arriving in the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, he wasted no time insinuating himself into the jazz scene. After a stint with the turbulent Dinah Washington, he soon became a key figure in Cannonball Adderley’s group, playing the kind of melodic and funky soul-jazz that must have warmed the cockles of a heart that yearned to play with 'the serious funk guys'. Among his contributions to the group’s renown was his classic ‘Mercy Mercy Mercy’, which won the outfit a Grammy award. From there, he was recruited in 1969 by Miles Davis to provide electric keyboards on two of his most seminal, scene-shifting albums, In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew (which featured lots of raw funk, but never an apostrophe).

It wasn’t long before he hooked up with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, a key figure in the great Miles Davis Quintet of the 1960s. ‘Mr. Weird’, as he was known at school and beyond, had served a long and fruitful apprenticeship with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before becoming one of Davis’ ground-breaking famous five for six years of gently but firmly pushing the frontiers of jazz. Detractors of the group that he and Zawinul founded in 1971 complain that Weather Report over time became the Viennese composer’s baby, while Shorter’s role was gradually reduced to little more than a colourist. Shorter himself, though, talked of how ‘colours really started coming’ during his tenure with Davis. It was almost as if he purposefully blew away the echoes of John Coltrane during his time with Blakey to concentrate instead on how to use space and suggestion and understatement in his later improvisations on tenor and soprano sax. He it was who christened the band Weather Report, in recognition of Zawinul’s search to make music that would constantly change like the weather. This quest for atmosphere and evanescent beauty seemed to be the tie that bound the wonderful compositions that they both individually came up with during Weather Report’s golden period spanning 1974’s Mysterious Traveller and 1977’s Heavy Weather. I think of the two pillars principally as composers who could also play whatever and however the music required. 'Sagas,' Shorter described their numbers, 'musical sagas. Dialogue with more theatre going on in the music.' When I first heard Shorter’s generally acknowledged masterpiece for Blue Note in 1964, Speak No Evil, it wasn’t so much the brilliance of the playing and more the misty, moody, slightly eerie compositions that rooted me to the spot.

In Weather Report such beautiful, haunting melodies were rooted in exhilarating rhythms. 'Many people called us a cerebral kind of thing,' Zawinul complained. 'They were dead wrong. The shit was totally gut music – but not stupid.' And after their first two albums, he told his co-founder, 'I'm gonna write some serious rhythmic stuff, otherwise we can give it up as a band.' It wasn’t only the drummers and percussionists who would stoke the serious rhythmic stuff, of course, it was also the electric bass players. On my favourite album of theirs, Tale Spinnin’, it’s Alphonso Johnson’s fluid, elastic bass playing that helps to make it probably the funkiest of all Weather Report records. 'Now we were not only funky, we played intelligent shit,' Zawinul suggested. 'It allowed Wayne and me all that space because the rhythm section wasn't all over the place. They were smokin'.' (What drove Johnson from the band 'was the fact that I played with so many different drummers.') But then along came Jaco. The manic loose cannon from Florida, John Francis Anthony (‘Jaco’) Pastorius III, destined to meet a violent and tragic end outside a Florida bar at the age of just 35, introduced himself to Zawinul as ‘the greatest bass player in the world’. You would never know it by looking at the instrument he called the ‘Bass of Doom’, a beaten up 1962 Fender jazz bass from which he removed the frets supposedly with a butter knife. This is what he plays on my perennially favourite Joni Mitchell album, Hejira, on all the Weather Report albums between his joining in 1976 and departing in 1982, and on the video I have chosen (after considerable mental debate).

Whether the greatest or not, it’s undeniable that Jaco Pastorius transformed the way that the electric bass was played in a jazz context, in the same way that Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham taught others to slap the funk out of their bass guitars. Described by Christian McBride, one of the modern greats of the double bass, as 'the Charlie Parker of electric bass', Pastorius talked of learning to feel the instrument, to know exactly where and how to touch the strings to make it sing. Here was another colourist, then; another brilliant composer, capable of writing numbers like ‘River People’, ‘Three Views of a Secret’ and ‘Teen Town’, along with ‘Birdland’ the most easily recalled song on the gold-plated Heavy Weather.

So, then. Is it to be one of two fantastic performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976, Shorter’s ‘Elegant People’ or Zawinul’s title track from Black Market, both played by arguably the best permutation of the group, which recorded the follow-up, Heavy Weather: Zawinul, Shorter, Pastorius, Badrena and Acuna? The filming, as befits a commercial release, is all you could ask for – up close and personal, so you feel part of Zawinul’s battery of electronic keyboards and Badrena’s array of Latin percussion – and the band plays up a storm in both numbers. If anything, ‘Elegant People’ shades it over the more dynamic ‘Black Market’, mainly because the interplay on the latter between Badrena and Acuna, both on incredible form, is almost overpowering: too much emphasis on two temporary members at the expense of its three prime movers. There’s more space, more room to breathe and to sit back and appreciate on ‘Elegant People’, and rather more focus on Jaco. And it’s nice to see Shorter playing the bigger horn for a change.

Nevertheless, I plumped finally for Pastorius’ ‘Teen Town’ from two years on at Offenbach in Germany. Visually, it’s a little murky and clearly inferior to the Montreux videos. What’s more, the band had become a quartet by this time, with Pete Erskine on drums and drums alone. It was Weather Report Mk whatever that brought out the double live album 8:30 in 1979. Erskine’s drumming, though, particularly the cymbal work, is so relentless that the percussion back-up is hardly missed at all. Zawinul described this model as 'our best band... We were very sound rhythmically. Everything was there. That band was a killer.' Despite the visual gloom, this is a fantastic performance, with the four musicians so much in tune, so much in synch, so 'rhythmically sound' that you can hardly separate them. It’s great to see the bipolar Pastorius in an upbeat mood, revelling in the complex subterranean bass lines, shuffling around the stage like a happy toddler with a new toy.


One of my key selection criteria is that the live version should be at least as good if not better than the recorded original. It would be very hard to beat the sheer intensity of the third track on side 1 of the album. Even though they stretch out a number that said everything there was to say in just under three minutes to almost three times that length, it’s not in any way gratuitous. Zawinul said 'I cannot just be up there and noodle around waiting for something to happen.' This is a killer band to be sure, with its eye firmly on the prize from first to last. There’s a lot to be said for the extra minutes and some might even say that it's even better as a result. ‘Teen Town’ could have shut down around 4½ minutes, just after the percussion workout with Erskine, Pastorius and Zawinul, but Shorter re-enters the fray and they forge ahead, ramping things up towards an ecstatic unison crescendo before stopping dead in their collective tracks at the merest cue. My! Them boys were real pros.

As an electro-jazz outfit, Weather Report live were, as the Irish say, deadly. If you fancy some more, the double CD Live And Unreleased is a wonderful compendium of live performances in London and the US recorded with different permutations of the band between 1975 and 1983. To finish with one more quote from the Austrian keyboards wizard with the Joe Stalin moustache who would go on to found the highly rhythmic Zawinul Syndicate once Weather Report was taken off the air, 'We had sixteen people on the road. But it was music and it was theatre. They belonged together.'