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Final encore: Joe Zawinul, jazz great, bows out.

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Final encore: Joe Zawinul, jazz great, bows out.

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One of the great figures of jazz fusion, Joe Zawinul, has died at the age of 75. The pianist and keyboard player played with the legendary Miles Davis, becoming one of the key musical names of the 60s and 70s. He founded the group Weather Report, and is remembered as one of the pioneers of jazz fusion with other greats, Wayne Shorter and Jaco Pastorius.

Joe Zawinul was born in Vienna in 1932, with an exotic Hungarian, Czech and gypsy background. He began playing classical piano at an early age, moving into jazz in the 50s before heading to America. In New York, he became fascinated by the electric piano and came under the influence of, among others, Jim Hendrix and Carlos Santana.

But he contracted skin cancer, and was forced into hospital in Vienna. His illness meant the cancellation of a number of concerts, including one in Paris last week where he would have been reunited with Wayne Shorter.