Wayne Shorter Quartet National Concert Hall jny:Dublin, Ireland June 14, 2014 The rapturous applause that greeted the Wayne Shorter Quartet as it took to the stage of Dublin's National Concert Hall was a heart-felt show of appreciation for Shorter's immense contribution to jazz over the past six decades. From his role as artistic director in both drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and trumpeter Miles Davis's second great quintet to his fourteen-year tenure alongside keyboardist Joe Zawinul in Weather Report, Shorter has been a key figure in shaping modern jazz. His particularly fertile creative ...read more
Jazz keeps growing and evolving through all of its permutations and 2013 was another stellar year of music. It's always difficult to pick the best from a host of outstanding releases yet the task is a labor of admiration. Another cool thing about Year End" lists is discovering something new. Here are just a few of my favorites and hopefully something yet to be discovered for those unfamiliar with these fine releases. Wayne Shorter Quartet Without a Net (Blue Note) At 80 years young, the esteemed jazz patriarch continues to ...read more
To speak with Wayne Shorter can feel like an exercise in the mystical. At times, it's stream of consciousness, ideas flowing that can reach the profound; but the direction can switch suddenly. There are frequent references to films (Shorter is a lifelong movie buff), as well as books whose subject matter run from science to philosophy. The discourse is never delivered in holier-than-thou fashion, nor is it deliberate obfuscation. Its always congenial and conversational. And witty. Shorter looks at life with a sparkle in his eye. He's pretty much completed the special year of his 80th birthday, with ...read more
Wayne Shorter Quartet Philharmonie Essen Essen, Germany November 8, 2013 Whatever waning stage of his career Wayne Shorter may occupy these days, a concert by his quartet remains one of jazz's premier performance attractions. It would be a stretch to say the senior statesman Shorter is playing better than ever or even equal to earlier eras, but at 80 years old, he is still consistently capable of brilliance. Maybe that's what makes his shows so special these days. Those new to the beautiful interior of Philharmonie Essen were bound to gaze ...read more
The saxophone is the most iconic of jazz instruments. Its image is all that is needed to invoke the music's essence, its history intimately entangled with the cultural arc of American music and urban culture. Its masters are the most recognized outside jazz circles and its sound most closely identified with the art form. To many, jazz is defined by the sax and the sax defined by jazz. For that reason, it was fitting that this year's Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Saxophone Competition divested itself of much of its hallmark pageantry, opting instead for a paired back ...read more
It is now well over a decade since legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter formed this quartet with Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade to tour and record Footprints Live! (Verve, 2001), an album which signaled the end of a period in the doldrums for Shorter and a cracking return to form. The energy and verve of the quartet's three younger players brought out the best of Shorter, a reminder why he deserved that legendary" tag. A 2003 studio-recorded follow-up, Alegria (Verve), hedged its bets by mixing and matching the quartet with guest stars. In the years since, the ...read more
The cover art of Without a Net alone might raise a few eyebrows, but it's the music that proves saxophonist Wayne Shorter is still one of jazz's most ardent provocateurs. In his return to Blue Note after 43 years, Shorter--who turns 80 in 2013-- demonstrates his ongoing vitality and ingenuity as an extraordinary composer, improviser, and leader of one of today's strongest quartets. For over ten years, the seemingly telepathic and subliminal messages that Shorter, drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci and pianist Danilo Pérez communicate continue to inspire in these recordings largely captured from the quartet's European tour in ...read more
Since convening a new quartet for the 2001 tour that resulted in Footprints Live! (Verve, 2002), soon-to-be-octogenarian saxophonist Wayne Shorter has found himself in the company of a group that's not just turned out to be, hands-down, his most exciting and exploratory acoustic ensemble in a career well into its sixth decade, but now, a dozen years later, his longest-running one as well. Weather Report, the fusion supergroup that Shorter co-founded with keyboardist Joe Zawinul, did, indeed, last longer, from the early 1970s through the mid-'80s, but with almost constant changes in personnel from album to album. Shorter's stable lineup ...read more
Wayne Shorter QuartetMassey HallToronto, CanadaFebruary 12, 2011 During a recent NPR interview with Michelle Mercer, the author of Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter (Tarcher, 2004) talked about how the saxophonist is still capable of keeping people interested through his continuous playing and writing. His quartet has not recorded together in years, and yet, what defines these musicians is less about releasing albums than intersecting musicality in performance. At the center of all of this is Shorter--who, at this stage in his career, veers more towards personal reflection.Shorter's rhythm section--each one ...read more
Wayne ShorterLive at Montreux 1996 Eagle Eye Media2009
Wayne Shorter may look 20 years younger than 76, but he is quite simply one of the last giants, every bit as influential and artistically significant as Sonny Rollins, perhaps second only to John Coltrane when one considers his compositions and just how many of them have become jazz standards. Much of Shorter's legendary artistic output dates from the first half of his life up to about 1970, encompassing stints with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis' second great ...read more
Wayne Shorter Quartet with NEC PhilharmoniaJordan Hall, New England ConservatoryBoston, MassachusettsOctober 24, 2009 Crushing waves, pound against jagged stone. Water breaks into spotted foam, falling, rising, then pounding again. The sounds splash and spray, captivating a stunned and silent audience. The Wayne Shorter Quartet took the stage for the final performance of the New England Conservatory's 40th anniversary celebration of jazz studies. For its second set, the Quartet was accompanied by the NEC Philharmonia, conducted by Hugh Wolff. The results were noteworthy. I knew Wayne had been performing with ...read more
Wayne ShorterLive at Montreux 1996 Eagle Eye Media2009
Enigmatic and cerebral, saxophonist Wayne Shorter's still evolving legacy remains one of the richest in the world of living jazz icons. Still, despite some fine writing, his return to recording as a leader after a 10-year absence, High Life (Verve, 1995) was underappreciated and remains an undervalued footnote amongst his classic Blue Note albums and more recent discs, including the empathic Beyond the Sound Barrier (Verve, 2005). Still, while High Life's sound was perhaps a tad clinical and overproduced by Marcus Miller: ...read more
Wayne Shorter was setting the jazz world on fire at the time of this 1965 Blue Note session, now available as part of the Rudy van Gelder remaster series. The tenor saxophonist had just joined Miles Davis' quintet, with whom he'd go on to make six classic albums, and he'd recently released a milestone album of his own, 1964's Speak No Evil (Blue Note). The Soothsayer finds Shorter in the company of such stellar contemporaries as bassist Ron Carter and the teen phenom drummer Tony Williams, both fellow members of Davis' group, as well as John Coltrane's ...read more
A good month for tenor saxophone connoisseurs, April 2008, with a second Rudy Van Gelder re-master released alongside Ike Quebec's signature Blue & Sentimental (Blue Note, 2008). The Soothsayer may be comparably less of a benchmark in Wayne Shorter's discography, and remains to some extent overshadowed by its close contemporary Speak No Evil (Blue Note, 1964), but it's a solid and enduring album--despite 15 years between the recording session and the original LP release.
Things were happening big time for Shorter in early 1965, when The Soothsayer was recorded. After five years with drummer and band ...read more
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