»We played music that people listened to every day just as they watch the news every evening, music which changed constantly – just like the weather«, reminisced Joe Zawinul when talking about coming up with a name for the group. This would probably frighten off listeners in today’s mass market. But back in those days CBS was satisfied with the group’s sound being somewhat similar to the Miles Davis Combo and offered them a recording contract without carrying out the usual sound check. The magic potion "Bitches Brew", which Zawinul and Wayne Shorter had conjured up with Miles Davis, was promising of exhilarating new things to come.
The heart-stopping mix of motivic fixed points and exciting improvisations, »the sketchy melodies, all that a synthesizer and other similar electronic devices could offer, combined with a Milky Way of rhythms« (Der Spiegel) was the pathway down which the group went – without ever becoming pure routine. The fifth album, "Tale Spinnin’", is captivating for its wealth of distinctive, often warm, synthesized sounds, which are further enhanced by Wayne Shorter’s bright, twangy soprano saxophone, lending it a jazzy aura. To be sure, this gripping jazz fusion never progresses steadily all the time, but takes up snatchy, though seemingly familiar, melodic ingredients and combines them to produce a new mixture. "Badia", however, is completely different: a quietly flowing and totally rhythmic ethnic work, which today would be classified as World Music.