Tony Zawinul is the eldest son of the late, legendary jazz pianist and composer, Joe Zawinul, and the late, barrier-breaking Maxine Zawinul, first ever African-American Playboy model.
He grew up in both Los Angeles and in New York, surrounded by his parents’ musical and artistic peers; this inspired in Zawinul a deep passion for music and storytelling which connects all of his projects together.
Zawinul is the executor of the Zawinul estate and president of the Zawinul Foundation for Achievement as well as a multimedia artist, musician and film director.
In 1993, he moved to Milan where, over the next 15 years, he worked on a number of film projects; in 2001, he directed a documentary, Two Years with the Zawinul Syndicate, following his father’s post-Weather Report jazz band, the Zawinul Syndicate. In 2004, he directed and edited a benefit concert for victims of the Indonesian tsunami which featured some of Italy’s top music artists. In 2005, he produced, directed and edited a DVD called TwentyFive for the band, Yellowjackets, as well as two DVDs for Italian musician, Eugenio Finardi, Il Silenzio e lo Spirito and Anima Blues. Between 2006 and 2008, Zawinul produced, directed and edited concert footage and interviews for renowned jazz and world music artists such as Amit Chaterjee, Marcus Miller, Karim Ziad, Etienne Mbappe and T.M. Stevens.
In 2018, Zawinul continues to expand his horizons as a filmmaker and is presently in production for the upcoming documentaries, Joe Zawinul: An American Dream, which seeks to honor his father’s talent, passionate personality and amazing career and crowd-funded This is This: The Incredible Journey of Weather Report, about his father’s internationally famous experimental jazz group, Weather Report.