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Outlining a significant portion of Wayne Shorter's recording career, this two-CD compilation traces the development of an artist who has left his footprint on modern jazz. Younger jazz artists from all facets of this creative field can't help being influenced by his exciting music. Dramatic tension and a relaxed swing give Shorter's performances a lasting appeal.
With Lee Morgan on "Lester Left Town" and Freddie Hubbard on "Speak No Evil," Columbia's portrait of the artist leads off in a swinging, straight-ahead spirit. Shorter's full tenor tone makes these Blue Note sessions sizzle.
The Gil Evans Orchestra recorded "Time of the Barracudas" on Verve in 1964 with Shorter's tenor as its featured voice. Fluid in his articulation and seamless in his phrasing, he gave the dramatic arrangement a suave texture. This classic recording also featured Kenny Burrell and Elvin Jones in landmark appearances.
Shorter's "Footprints" appeared on Columbia's Miles Smiles a few years later with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams and Miles Davis. The piece has always been able to convey delicate bare feet as they leave their mark on the world around us. The underlying tension reminds us that our future remains uncertain. At the same time, Shorter's confident tenor saxophone rapport reassures us that we're in control. We make footprints in the sand every day, and our lives make a difference. He's always been able to give us that positive feeling.
Selections follow from Columbia's Nefertiti and Bitches Brew with Davis leading. Significant changes in jazz were being made. The contrast between "Nefertiti" and "Sanctuary," both lovely ballads with open trumpet, is quite significant. "Sanctuary" opens the door for a wave of electric piano and soprano saxophone timbres in modern jazz.
Weather Report brought a new, jazz/rock voice to modern jazz. Fusion separated audiences. The four Weather Report selections that appear here date from 1974 to 1976. It was a crossroads in jazz. It was also a crossroads in the saxophonist's career. Serving as a musical companion to Shorter's biography by Michelle Mercer, Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter, Columbia's compilation goes beyond the mainstream.
From Weather Report, the influential saxophonist and composer collaborated with Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Milton Nascimento, and other disparate sources. He explored jazz from the inside out. World music has melded with modern jazz.
The mellow guitars and smooth vocals of Steely Dan turned the ballad "Aja" toward pop music obscurity. It's included here because the piece features Shorter's sizzling tenor solo midstream. He brought life to the music. Alongside Joni Mitchell, his soprano saxophone voice adds significantly to her hot, swinging arrangement of "Dry Cleaner from Des Moines." Excursions through other contemporary scenarios have given Shorter a broad view. Fusion led to larger and more varied projects.
The compilation ends with Shorter's "Masquelero," recorded July 20, 2001 on tenor with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade. It's one of his more dramatic adventures. Retaining his suave articulation and seamless phrasing, the leader partners with his three comrades on a musical journey. They travel ancient mountain trails and winding pathways that lead to higher ground. Jazz's modern mainstream has its champion. That's Wayne Shorter.
Track Listing: Disc 1: Lester Left Town; Speak No Evil; Infant Eyes; Time of the Barracudas; E.S.P.; Footprints; Nefertiti;
Sanctuary; Mysterious Traveler; Lusitanos. Disc 2: Elegant People; Palladium; Ponta de Areia; Aja; Dry
Cleaner from Des Moines; The Three Marias; Mahogany Bird; Joy Ryder; Children of the Night; In Walked
Wayne; Aung San Suu Kyi; Masquelero.
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.