Joe Zawinul – Di•a•lects (1986), Jazz Fusion Studio Album

Di•a•lects is the title of the fourth solo studio album released by jazz fusion pioneer and legend Josef ‘Joe’ Erich Zawinul (ex-Weather Report frontman and creator) in 1986. The full title of this studio album is ‘Di•a•lects, Music for solo synthesizers and voices‘ and sums up the musical content on the LP. Joe Zawinul made this album himself from scratch by creating songs using his very interesting programmed synthesizers and rhythm machines, along with vocals through vocoders and imported additional vocals from Bobby McFerrin as well as from a vocal trio performing in Zawinul’s created language for the artistic purpose of this record.

The album was recorded in 1985 at Sony Music Studios in New York and was released through Columbia Records in 1986. It has a total length of 42 minutes and 21 seconds. It is a mixture of jazz fusion, soul jazz, and world fusion (encompassing influences from several places across the world).

The beautiful frontal cover artwork of the album depicts a world map which includes Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania along with the maritime life found in the oceans nearby these continents. The continents are depicted with superimposed sketches of various ethnic groups, cultural and natural landscapes corresponding to each geographic area, denoting as such the vast cultural and musical areal that Zawinul wanted to respect, include, and promote through his music.

Joe Zawinul – Di•a•lects (1986), frontal cover artwork. Image source:

In terms of critical reception, the album was very well met by AllMusic which remarked on it the following:

‘This is an important, overlooked album because it proves that electronic instruments can reach your emotions and shake your body when played by someone who has bothered to learn how to master them’ AllMusic review

Consequently, AllMusic gave the album 5 out of 5 stars, praising the technique with which it was made and the emotions it can stir within the listener.

The tracklist of the album is as follows:

  1. The Harvest
  2. Waiting for the Rain
  3. Zeebop
  4. The Great Empire
  5. Carnavalito
  6. 6 A.M./Walking on the Nile
  7. Peace

The recording personnel was as follows:

  • Josef ‘Joe’ Erich Zawinul – programmed synthesizers, vocals (through vocoders), rhythm machines;
  • Bobby McFerrin – additional vocals;
  • Carl Anderson – additional vocals;
  • Dee Dee Bellson – additional vocals;
  • Alfie Silas – additional vocals.

The production team was composed of the following members:

  • Joe Zawinul – producer, designer;
  • George Butler – executive production;
  • Peter Kelsey – engineer;
  • Paul Ericksen – second engineer;
  • Bernie Grundman – mastering;
  • Corvalan-Condliffe Management – management;
  • Joseph Futterer – art direction;
  • Richie Powell – art direction;
  • Vivian Bremmer – illustration.

Below you can integrally listen to Di•a•lects (1986) by legendary jazz fusion pioneer Joe Zawinul via YouTube:

Documentation sources and external links:

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