By the beginning of '66, Wayne Shorter had already made jazz history twice: forging gospel-drenched hard bop with Art Blakey from '59 to '64 and helping to create the metaphysical artistry of the Miles Davis quintet during the mid-'60s. So it should come as no suprise that Adam's Apple
, which was recorded in February of '66, has Shorter compositions in standard AABA blues form and introspective ballads that sound like his work with Davis.
Recorded at the infamous Van Gelder studio for Blue Note Records, Adam's Apple features Shorter leading an all-star rhythm section consisting of pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Joe Chambers. As in the second "classic" Miles Davis quintet, Hancock and Shorter find solace in each other on Adam's Apple. Shorter's solos throughout the album are encouraged by Hancock's stride-like comping.
Adam's Apple features underrated drummer Joe Chambers, who appeared on four of Wayne Shorter's Blue Note albums during the '60s. Not a well-known Blue Note favorite like Tony Williams or Art Blakey, Chambers still manages to produce outstanding aesthetics of sound on his drums, frequently using the tom-toms in his solos to produce a tympanic effect. Chamber's playing is so controlled throughout Adam's Apple that he manages to keep a swinging tempo during his extremely polyrhythmic solos.
The title track of Adam's Apple opens up with a punchy bass line from Workman that sounds like pure Motown. Workman's tone on Adam's Apple is deep and ethereal, sounding alot like his work with the John Coltrane quartet. "502 Blues (Drinkin' and Drivin')" is a contemplative ballad where Shorter plays long lines of blues over the rhythm section that gives the song a suspended-like quality until Hancock brings it down with an impressionistic solo in the style of Bill Evans.
"El Gaucho" has the bossa nova sound that was gaining wide popularity during the '60s. Shorter plays stop-and-start phrases which is a sign of things to come later with his fusion outfit, Weather Report. "Footprints" has a memorable walking bass line in 6/8 meter throughout the whole course and Shorter's theme is instantly recognizable. "Footprints" would later be recorded by Shorter with the Miles Davis Quintet.
Adam's Apple ends with the avant-garde Hancock composition "The Collector." The piece features abstract improvisation by all members of the quartet, especially in the rhythm section. Hancock solos with unpredictable chaos, but leaves enough space for a dramatic solo by Chambers at the end.
Personnel: Wayne Shorter,tenor sax; Herbie Hancock,piano, Reggie Workman,bass; Joe Chambers,drums