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Wayne Shorter (Blue Note The Rudy Van Gelder Edition: Speak No Evil / JuJu

C. Michael Bailey By

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RVG Again. Will Smith and Chris Hovan wrote two very capable articles about the Blue Note RVG Editions. Their articles were very informative and they stimulated me to check out some “new” old music. I decided to start with the initial RVG releases by Wayne Shorter.

Déjà Vu All Over Again The nice thing about both jazz and classical music is that there is always something even the most astute listener has missed in his or her listening experience. Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock are two examples of this phenomenon for me. Sure I listened to them with Miles, but I far preferred John Coltrane and Red Garland with Miles and I listened to the latter exclusively in spite of my vinyl copies of Miles Smiles, Nefertitti etc. I preferred Miles’ 50s Quintet to his 60s quintet in the same way that I prefer Mozart and Haydn to Brahms and Wagner.

Music and musical styles are something that many listeners must grow into. Sure I heard Shorter with Art Blakey, and liked him a lot. I saw a unique parallel between Shorter and Benny Golson in their individual contribution to the Jazz Messenger’s book. These were two living legends who were composing jazz standards, not simply interpreting them. This is the case for Shorter on the two discs under consideration. He composed all of the pieces, supporting his considerable composing roles in the Jazz Messengers and the Davis Quintet. This is mid-60’s acoustic jazz of the highest order. This is music that is carefully and thoughtfully crafted by a master and performed by equal masters.

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum Wayne Shorter possesses a quietly brilliant invention and is indeed a fine ballad composer. Speak No Evil and JuJu are packed full of the evidence. All of his compositions show an approach to perfection in non-blues based Hard Bop. These discs further show what exactly made Miles’ second quintet so fine.

Wisdom. For younger readers, I would suggest that before you spend $16.98 on the new Joshua Redman or Mark Shim disc, consider buying either one of these discs to see where talent like Redman and Shim came from. They stand of the shoulders of giants. Wayne Shorter is one of these giants.

There is great security in knowing that there exists such a wealth of recorded jazz music (with all instruments represented). It is super that comprehensive collections exist of tenor talent such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Sonny Stitt, and Wayne Shorter. Without these musicians, there would be no Joshua Redman or Mark Shim

Track Listing Speak No Evil :Witch Hunt; Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum; Dance Cadaverous; Speak No Evil; Infant Eyes; Wild Flowers; Dance Cadaverous. (Total Playing Time 67:20).

Personnel Speak No Evil :Wayne Shorter: Tenor Saxophone; Freddie Hubbard: Trumpet; Herbie Hancock: Piano; Ron Carter: Bass; Elvin Jones: Drums.

Track Listing JuJu :JuJu; Deluge; House of Jade; Mahjong; Twelve More Bars to Go; JuJu (alternate take); House of Jade (alternate Take) (Total Playing Time 56:20).

Personnel JuJu :Wayne Shorter: Tenor Saxophone; McCoy Tyner: Piano; Reginald Workman: Bass; Elvin Jones: Drums.


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