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Making the weather in contemporary jazz: an appreciation of the musical art of Josef Zawinul

Making the weather in contemporary jazz: an appreciation of the musical art of Josef Zawinul
Making the weather in contemporary jazz: an appreciation of the musical art of Josef Zawinul
Josef Zawinul (1932-2007) holds a rare place in the world of jazz in view of the fact that as a European he forged a long and distinguished musical career in America. Indeed, from a position of relative obscurity when he arrived in New York in 1959, he went on to become one of contemporary jazz’s most prolific and commercially successful composers. The main focus of this dissertation will be Zawinul’s rise to prominence in American jazz during the 1960s and 1970s. In this vital period of his creative life he is associated with a variety of jazz contexts: performing with Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley’s band as a hard bop pianist in the early 1960s; developing new approaches as a composer and keyboard player for Adderley’s group during the ‘soul jazz’ period (1966 to 1969); recording independently under his own name (1966 to 1970); collaborating with Miles Davis in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and co-founding the influential contemporary jazz ensemble Weather Report (early 1970s onwards). Most significantly, he was a key figure (both as a performer and composer) in the new electro-acoustic jazz that emerged in the mid-1960s and his unwavering commitment to this hybrid idiom has left a substantial and wide-ranging body of work.

Given the impact and scale of Zawinul’s contribution to contemporary jazz in the second half of the twentieth century, it surely prompts the question: why has there been a dearth of scholarly discussion concerning his artistic legacy? With the aim of rectifying this omission, it is hoped that this dissertation will therefore go some way towards bringing long overdue critical engagement with his music. To this end, this study will examine a selection of Zawinul’s mature works and attempt to explicate not only the diverse range of influences (musical and cultural) that were essential to his artistic development but also the nature of his aesthetic eclecticism from which he created an individual compositional language.
Cooper, Alan
c1e444a9-3d44-450a-9e27-0c3cae141730
Cooper, Alan
c1e444a9-3d44-450a-9e27-0c3cae141730
Nicholls, David
03b203c2-f929-441a-88b7-8af9d5211270

(2012) Making the weather in contemporary jazz: an appreciation of the musical art of Josef Zawinul. University of Southampton, School of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 308pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Josef Zawinul (1932-2007) holds a rare place in the world of jazz in view of the fact that as a European he forged a long and distinguished musical career in America. Indeed, from a position of relative obscurity when he arrived in New York in 1959, he went on to become one of contemporary jazz’s most prolific and commercially successful composers. The main focus of this dissertation will be Zawinul’s rise to prominence in American jazz during the 1960s and 1970s. In this vital period of his creative life he is associated with a variety of jazz contexts: performing with Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley’s band as a hard bop pianist in the early 1960s; developing new approaches as a composer and keyboard player for Adderley’s group during the ‘soul jazz’ period (1966 to 1969); recording independently under his own name (1966 to 1970); collaborating with Miles Davis in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and co-founding the influential contemporary jazz ensemble Weather Report (early 1970s onwards). Most significantly, he was a key figure (both as a performer and composer) in the new electro-acoustic jazz that emerged in the mid-1960s and his unwavering commitment to this hybrid idiom has left a substantial and wide-ranging body of work.

Given the impact and scale of Zawinul’s contribution to contemporary jazz in the second half of the twentieth century, it surely prompts the question: why has there been a dearth of scholarly discussion concerning his artistic legacy? With the aim of rectifying this omission, it is hoped that this dissertation will therefore go some way towards bringing long overdue critical engagement with his music. To this end, this study will examine a selection of Zawinul’s mature works and attempt to explicate not only the diverse range of influences (musical and cultural) that were essential to his artistic development but also the nature of his aesthetic eclecticism from which he created an individual compositional language.

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More information

Published date: October 2012
Organisations: University of Southampton, Music

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 366837
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/366837
PURE UUID: 304229e0-d810-448f-90bb-f1c88cb4eb6f

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Date deposited: 20 Oct 2014 13:42
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:07

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Contributors

Author: Alan Cooper
Thesis advisor: David Nicholls

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