Monday, October 12, 2015

Wayne Shorter: Five Deep Cuts

It's never a bad time to pull together some deep cuts from saxophone legend Wayne Shorter, who at age 82 keeps producing and producing. Although Shorter started out working with two of the greatest bands in jazz (Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis Quintet), his eclectic body of work (Milton Nascimento, Weather Report, Joni Mitchell, Santana, Imani Winds) defies genre. Let's just say everything he touches is of the finest quality – here's five that often fly under the radar.

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Shorter joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1959, later becoming musical director and principal composer before joining Miles Davis' Quintet in 1964. Shorter's "One By One" (Ugetsu, 1963) stands as one of greatest compositions in the Blakey book.

Through the mid-late 60s, many of Shorter's best-known compositions were recorded with Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet. Meanwhile, Shorter signed with Blue Note Records and released 11 albums over six years, including Et Cetera (1965).

Shorter's saxophone playing is integral to the revolutionary sound of In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. The ballad "Sanctuary" (Bitches Brew, 1969) would be the final composition Shorter recorded with Miles Davis.

In the 70s, Shorter bridged the funky sounds and styles of Weather Report (of which Shorter was a founding member) with genius Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento on Native Dancer (Columbia Records, 1974).

Before assembling his longstanding "Footprints Quartet" (Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade), Shorter teamed up with longtime collaborator Herbie Hancock for the introspective duet album 1+1 (Verve, 1997), with composition "Aung San Suu Kyi," named after the renowned Burmese activist.

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