Back home in Basel with access to my record collection, I can finally post my little homage to Joe Zawinul who passed away last week. Zawinul’s life is well documented all over the world wide web, so I’ll refrain from repeating what others already might have written much better. Just to create a clearer connection to this blog I’d point out a less known fact that Zawinul, born in Austria in 1932, also had Czech roots: his grand father hailed from Moravia. The origin is also obvious if you look at the literal meaning of the surname Zawinul. “Zavinout” means in Czech “to wrap up” or “to swathe” which is pretty well illustrated by the Czech word for the @ symbol: “zavináč” (zavináč is actually a rollmops).
So, after this small lesson in etymology let’s move on to music. I don’t think it’s necessary to upload yet another rip of Birdland, Country Preacher or Mercy Mercy Mercy, although from the latter there exist at least two nice renditions on records by Czech artists: a live instrumental from Šest strýců and and the brilliant vocal version Nechci (I Don’t Want) from Marie Rottrová’s first solo album, both from 1972. Nevertheless, the following instrumental tune has nothing to do with Joe Zawinul whatsoever except for its pun title, making it sort of a perfect requiem…
Combo FH – Asi to zabalíme, i Josef už to zavinul
from album “Věci/Thing”, 1980, Panton 81130184
produced by Daniel Fikejz and Antonín Matzner
original LP sleeve by Miloš Jirsa
“Asi to zabalíme, i Josef už to zavinul” translates literally as “perhaps we shall pack it up, even Joe has already wrapped it up”. But since the connection to Zawinul would get completely lost in the translation, on the album the official English title for this tune was Weather Report For Tonight, Let’s Call It A Day. Nice try, but not nearly as funny as the Czech one. The other tracks from Věci have pretty funny pun titles as well (Second Best Mousetrap or Dried Strawberry’s Dream), reminding of songs by Captain Beefheart or Frank Zappa. That’s not a big surprise, of course, since the composer and band leader Daniel Fikejz has been known as quite a fan of Zappa.
For more info on Combo FH you might want to revisit my article from September 2006.