How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Originally released in 1967 on the obscure Vortex label, this CD finds Joe Zawinul at the tail end of his nine year association with Cannonball Adderley. Although Zawinul began his jazz career as a mainstream, hard bop pianist, he would evolve into a noted composer and a pioneer in the use of electronics, exotic sounds and world beat rhythms. The Rise And Fall Of The Third Stream is the beginning of a journey that would eventually lead to the formation of noted jazz "super-group," Weather Report. Interestingly enough, all the compositions here, except for Zawinul's From Vienna, With Love are by tenor saxophonist William Fischer. He and Zawinul make good use of sidemen Jimmy Owens (trumpet), Richard Davis (bass) and Freddie Waits or Roy McCurdy (drums), while adding such non-traditional jazz instruments as the cello and a number of violas. The resulting music is an adventurous mix of classical, avant-garde and jazz that lacks the cohesion and polish Zawinul would later achieve. Nevertheless, an interesting experiment that laid the groundwork for fusion's future. ***