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Want a challenge? Try cramming nearly fifty years of music into a two-CD set. And if that isn't hard enough, try having it make the slightest lick of sense. Though hardly an enviable task, this is precisely what Columbia/Legacy has endeavored to do with Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter.
Compiled here is a brisk walk through the vast expanse of Shorter's career as pillar of modern jazz and consistently groundbreaking composer. Stops along the way include many of the saxophonist's acclaimed musical landmarksan early tour with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, his timeless Blue Note recordings of the '60s, peeks at his unforgettable years with Miles Davis, famed flurries of Weather Report, cameos alongside Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan, a duo with Herbie Hancock, andif you're not yet overcome with inadequacymuch, much more.
Ironically, though, amid the armfuls of genius and creativity is a single, slight snag: flow. With the goal of covering each of Shorter's many mutations, the two discs suffer the plight of mass concision. Just as you ease into Shorter's hard bop beginnings, fusion appears, only to be eclipsed rapidly by jazz/pop, which then cuts sharply into '80s musings and concludes just as suddenly with Shorter's more recent return to earlier forms. And while each composition shines brightly (often blindingly) on its own, the whole is somewhat obscured by the absence of transition.
As a testament to the broad (and still broadening) horizons of Shorter's achievements, this collection is proof that either much more or a little less are needed to bring his singular brilliance into full view.
Track Listing: Lester Left Town; Speak No Evil; Infant Eyes; Time of the Barracudas; E.S.P.; Footprints;
Nefertiti; Sanctuary; Mysterious Traveller; Lusitanos.
Disc Two: Elegant People; Palladium; Ponta de Arcia; Aja; The Dry Cleaner from des
Moines; The Three Marias; Mahogany Bird; Joy Rider; Children of the Night; In Walked
Wayne; Aung San Suu Kyi
22 Masquelero [live] Shorter 8:26
Personnel: Wayne Shorter: leader, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone; Art
Blakey: leader, drums; J.J. Johnson: leader, trombone; Joni Mitchell: leader, vocal; Gil Evans:
leader, piano; Miles Davis: leader, trumpet; Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Jon Lewis, Rob
McGregor: trumpet; Steven Holtman, Robert Payne, Frank Rehak: trombone; Ray Alonge,
Julius Watkins, Daniel Kelley, Joseph Meyer, Brad Warnaar: French horn; Bill Barber: tuba; Al
Block, Andy Fitzgerald, George Marge, Bob Tricarico, Jim Walker: reeds; Kazue McGregor,
Annarenee Grizell, Sarah Weisz: flute; Emily Bernstein, Ralph Williams: clarinet; Gary
Bovyer, Lorin Levee: bass clarinet; Joyce Kelley-Clark: oboe; Linda Muggeridge, Leslie
Reed: English horn; Dan Faulk: tenor saxophone; Ronald Jannelli: bassoon; Julie Feves,
Michele Grego: contrabassoon; Bob Maxwell: harp; Kenny Burrell, Larry Carlton, Walter
Becker, Danny Dias, Jay Graydon, David Gilmore: guitar; Bobby Timmons, Michael
Omartian, Renee Rosnes, Danilo Perez: piano; Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea: piano, electric
piano; Joe Zawinul: piano, electric piano, keyboards, synthesizers, organ; Rachel Z, Geri
Allen: piano, synthesizers; Joe Sample: electric piano; Wagner Tiso: electric piano, organ;
Patrice Rushen: keyboards; Stu Goldberg: synthesizers; Ron Carter, Gary Peacock, Jymie
Merritt, Dave Holland, Dave McDaniel, Chuck Rainey, Nathan East, Larry Klein, John
Patitucci, Rufus Reid: bass; Marcus Miller: bass, bass clarinet, conductor; Alphonso
Johnson, Gary Willis: electric bass; Jaco Pastorius: electric bass, steel drums; Elvin Jones,
Tony Williams, Robertinho Silva, Jack DeJohnette, Will Calhoun, Ishmael Wilburn, Steve
Gadd, Victor Lewis, Brian Blade, Skip Hadden, Chester Thompson, Peter Erskine, Terri Lyne
Carrington: drums; Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, Alex Acuna : drums, percussion; Bill Summers,
Scott Roberts, Dom Um Romao, Alyrio Lima, Manolo Badrena, Lenny Castro, Airto Moreira:
percussion; Don Alias: congas; Jumma Santos (Jim Riley): shaker; Bruce Dukov, Armen
Garabedian, Suzie Katayama, Edith Markman, Sid Page, Michele Richards: violin; Robert
Becker, Denyse Buffum, Ralph Fielding, Harry Shirnian, Evan Wilson: viola; Larry Corbett:
cello; Milton Nascimento: vocal; Donald Fagen: vocals, synths; Tim Schmit: backup vocal.