I met Joe Zawinul when Herb Pomeroy retired from teaching at Berklee. Joe had moved to the US is the late 50s to study and perform here. He studied with Herb when he first started teaching (they were the same age) and Zawinul (in later years he went by his last name) returned to the US to perform at Herb's retirement party in 1990. It's a bizarre coincidence that they died within weeks of each other.
Zawinul was a brilliant musician and composer. He wrote "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" when he was with Cannonball Adderly, and later wrote "Birdland" when he was with Weather Report, which was probably the only band to come from the Jazz-Rock fusion era that had an real, lasting and substantial impact on jazz as an art. He was one of the first jazz musicians to make extensive use of electronics.
Like Herb, he will be missed by many.