It may be a word overused but there isn't truly a more appropriate way to describe keyboardist/composer Joe Zawinul.
Austrian born, Joe Zawinul emigrated to the US in 1959 where he played with Maynard Ferguson and the great Dinah Washington before joining alto saxophonist great Cannonball Adderley in 1961 for nine years. With Adderley, Zawinul wrote several important songs, primarily the slow and funky hit Mercy, Mercy, Mercy which reached the top on the Billboard magazine Pop Charts in 1967.
Zawinul then moved on to a brief but fateful encounter and collaboration with Miles Davis, just at the time Miles was moving into the electric arena. It was Zawinul’s tune In a Silent Way, in fact, which served as the title track of Miles’ first electric foray, and Zawinul had a potent impact on Bitches Brew, as well.