Inception and formation
Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter first met and became friends in 1959 while they were playing in Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band. Zawinul went on to play with Cannonball Adderley’s group in the 1960s, while Shorter joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and then, in 1964, Miles Davis’ second great quintet. During this decade, both men made names for themselves as being among the best composers in jazz.
Zawinul would later join Shorter in contributing to the initial fusion music recordings of Miles Davis, and both men were part of the studio groups, which recorded the key Davis albums In a Silent Way (1969) and Bitches Brew (1970). In consequence, Weather Report has often been seen as a spin-off from the Miles Davis bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s, although Zawinul was never part of Davis’s touring line-up. Weather Report was initially formed in order to explore a more impressionistic and individualistic music (or, as Zawinul put it, “away from all that eight bars shit and then you go to the bridge…”)
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