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© Derick A. Thomas; Dat's Jazz/CORBIS
Like a lot of guys on our list, Joe Zawinul played with Miles Davis, before co-founding the seminal fusion group Weather Report and then Zawinul Syndicate.
His music is often playful and experimental. He famously patched one of his ARP 2600s so that the keyboard played in reverse, allowing for some interesting lines when doubled with a conventionally patched ARP.
With Weather Report, he cut Birdland, his most recognisable track. An imitation of his signature patch for the piece has become a standard preset on many a modern synthesizer. Zawinul often infused his cuts with an ethnic groove, long before ‘World music’ became a hipster catch phrase.