Wayne Shorter


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
Blues a La Carte (1959), 5/10
Second Genesis (1960), 5/10
Wayning Moments (1961), 5/10
Night Dreamer (1964), 6/10
Juju (1964), 7/10
Speak No Evil (1964), 7.5/10
Soothsayer (1965), 7/10
Et Cetera (1965), 5/10
The All Seeing Eye (1965), 7.5/10
Adam's Apple (1966), 7/10
Schizophrenia (1967), 7/10
Super Nova (1969), 5.5/10
Moto Grosso Feio (1970), 6/10
Odyssey of Iskra (1970), 4/10
Native Dancer (1974), 5/10
Atlantis (1984), 4/10
Phantom Navigator (1985), 4/10
Joy Rider (1988), 4/10
High Life (1994), 5/10
1+1 (1997), 6/10
Footprints Live (2001), 5/10
Alegria (2003), 7/10
Beyond the Sound Barrier (2004), 7/10
Without a Net (2011), 5/10
Emanon (2013), 7/10
Links:

Tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter (1933) had his breakthrough with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1959-64), for which he composed Chess Players (march 1960) and Lester Left Town (november 1959) on The Big Beat (1960), Children of the Night (august 1961) on Mosaic (1961), Reincarnation Blues (november 1961) on Buhaina's Delight (1962) This Is For Albert and Sweet 'N' Sour on Caravan (october 1962), One by One (june 1963), Ping-Pong (february 1961) and On the Ginza (june 1963) on Ugetsu (1963), Free For All (february 1964) on Free For All, Mr Jin (april 1964) on Indestructible. His tenor saxophone had a unique sound and his compositions had a unique atmosphere. Shorter's compositions for his own albums were, instead, rudimentary at best. Influenced by the hard bop played by Blakey, Shorter's first solo sessions, Blues A la Carte (november 1959), also known as Introducing, were recorded by a quintet with Lee Morgan on trumpet, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums, while Second Genesis (october 1960) featured pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Bob Cranshaw and Blakey in person, and Wayning Moments (november 1961) a quintet with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. He also worked for Freddie Hubbard (1962-63) and Lee Morgan (1964-67). He was hired by Miles Davis (1964-70) to work on Davis' new ideas, that eventually led to the invention of fusion jazz. Shorter was crucial for Davis' project. Not only did his saxophone sculpt much of the sound, but his compositions were among the most relevant of this phase of Davis' career: E.S.P. and Iris on E.S.P. (january 1965), Orbits, Footprints and Dolores on Miles Smiles (october 1966), Prince of Darkness, Masqualero and Limbo on Sorcerer (may 1967), Nefertiti and Fall on Nefertiti (june 1967), Paraphernalia on Miles in the Sky (1968), Sanctuary on Bitches Brew (1969), Great Expectations on Big Fun (1970). These compositions were so important, and so carefully crafted by the saxophonist, that Shorter may have been the real brain of much of Davis' music, Davis being merely the trumpet player. Shorter was a subtle and sophisticated composer who violated the rules of jazz music by indulging in ethereal melodies, slow tempos and sustained tones.

In parallel, Shorter's own albums coined an oneiric, pensive and personal sound that borrowed from John Coltrane (mainly), Art Blakey and Miles Davis while pointing towards the jazz-rock revolution. Lee Morgan on trumpet, McCoy Tyner on piano, Reggie Workman on bass and Elvin Jones on drums (Jones and Tyner being both members of the Coltrane quartet) helped him sculpt the lyrical, waltzing Night Dreamer, the romantic ballad Virgo, and the sophisticated harmonies of Black Nile and Armageddon on Night Dreamer (april 1964). The playing was more cohesive (especially in JuJu) and the compositions were more expressive (particularly Yes or No) on Juju (august 1964), recorded with the same rhythm section but without Morgan, but Shorter boldly abandoned the Coltrane paradigm on Speak No Evil (december 1964). Freddie Hubbard on horns, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Jones on drums helped him find an unlikely balance of hard bop, modal jazz and free jazz while increasing the melodic intensity. The playing was not revolutionary at all, but Witch Hunt and Speak No Evil showed his compositional genius, and the album closing with two tendere ballads, Infant Eyes (perhaps the most memorable of his career) and Wild Flower, that heralded a new era of emotions in jazz music.
The Soothsayer (march 1965) marked the return of Reggie Workman on bass, the replacement of Jones with Tony Williams on drums, and the addition of alto saxophonist James Spulding next to Hubbard and Shorter. Now that Jones was gone, Tyner became more than ever the anchor of Shorter's sound. The three horns and the piano offered the composer a chance to experiment more complex structures (The Soothsayer, Lost, The Big Push).
After the subdued Et Cetera (june 1965), released only in 1980 and also known as The Collector, a quartet session with Hancock, Chambers and bassist Cecil McBee that featured the eleven-minute Indian Song, Shorter added trombonist Grachan Moncur to the horn section of himself, Hubbard and Spaulding and to the rhythm section of Hancock, Carter and Chambers for The All Seeing Eye (october 1965). The lush instrumental textures obscured Shorter's melodic flair and brought out the most brooding and psychological elements of his music, especially in The All Seeing Eye, Genesis and Mephistopheles. This album, de facto, ended Shorter's long flirtation with Coltrane's music.
After that experimental tour de force, Shorters returned to a humbler format (a quartet with Hancock, Workman and Chambers) and a simpler form of music (Footprints, Adam's Apple, Chief Crazy Horse) for Adams' Apple (february 1966). The sextet of Schizophrenia (march 1967), featuring Spaulding, trombonist Curtis Fuller and the rhythm section of Hancock, Carter and Chambers, continued to plow the border between bop tradition and free-jazz avantgarde in pieces such as Tom Thumb. The sophistication of the arrangements was rapidly becoming the main raison d'etre of Shorters' music. All in all, his compositional skills were still better served in Davis' recordings than in Shorters' own recordings. He seemed to acknowledge that much by veering sharply towards Davis' fusion sound on Super Nova (august 1969), employing stars of the genre such as electric guitarists John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock, Chick Corea, bassist Miroslav Vitous, drummer Jack DeJohnette, etc. and setting new standards of call-and-response between solo and accompaniment in the rubato Capricorn. Moto Grosso Feio (april 1970), only released in 1974, added Dave Holland to McLaughlin, Vitous, Carter and Corea and at least tried to improve on the stereotype with the lengthy Moto Grosso Feio and Iska, but Odyssey of Iskra (august 1970), performed by an octet with vibraphone, guitar, two basses, three percussionists, proved that Shorter was after mere living-room entertainment.
In the meantime, Shorter also recorded with McCoy Tyner (1968-70). In 1970 Shorter and Joe Zawinul left Davis to form Weather Report. Shorter still recorded an album of mediocre latin-jazz ballads, Native Dancer (september 1974), with Brazilian vocalist Milton Nascimento and percussionist Airto Moreira, and collaborated with singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell (1977-2002), but his creative energy was clearly reserved for the band.
Shorter left Weather Report in 1985, but his new solo albums (heavily influenced by Weather Report's electronic sound) were consistently disappointing: Atlantis (1985), Phantom Navigator (1986), Joy Ryder (1988).

After a long hiatus, Shorter recorded High Life (1994), a collaboration with keyboardist Rachel Z, and 1+1 (1997), a collaboration with Herbie Hancock that contained Aung San Suu Kyi.

In 2000 Shorter formed his first acoustic group, a quartet featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade. Footprints Live (july 2001), Alegria (2003), that added pianist Brad Mehldau, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and percussionist Alex Acuna, and the live albums Beyond the Sound Barrier (april 2004) and Without A Net (december 2011).

The triple-disc set Emanon contains music by the Wayne Shorter Quartet (Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade) and the 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, notably a four-movement suite (february 2013), Shorter's first studio session since Alegria.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Andrea Grandi

Il sassofonista tenore Wayne Shorter (1933) ha avuto la svolta della sua carriera con gli Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1959-64), per i quali compose Chess Players (marzo 1960) e Lester Left Town (novembre 1959) nell’album The Big Beat (1960), Children of The Night ( agosto1961) nell’album Mosaic (1961), Reincarnation Blues (novembre 1961) in Buhaina’s Delight (1962), This is For Albert e Sweet ‘N’ Sour in Caravan (giugno 1963), Ping-Pong (febbraio 1961) in Free For All, Mr Jin (aprile 1964) in Indestructible. Il suo sassofono tenore aveva un suono unico e le sue composizioni possedevano un’atmosfera unica. Le composizioni di Shorter per i suoi album erano, invece, nel migliore dei casi elementari. Influenzato dal Bop duro dei Blakey, la prima sessione solista di Shorter, Blues A La Carte (novembre 1959), anche conosciuta con il nome di Introducing, furono registrate con un quintetto formato da Lee Morgan alla tromba, Wynton Kelly al piano, Paul Chambers al basso e Jimmy Cobb alla batteria, mentre Second Genesis (ottobre 1960) comprendeva il pianista Cedar Walton, il bassista Bob Cranshaw e Blakey stesso, e Wayning Moments (novembre 1961) un quintetto con Freddie Hubbard alla tromba. Shorter lavorò inoltre con Freddie Hubbard nel biennio 1962-63 e con Lee Morgan tra il 1964-67. Fu ingaggiato da Miles Davis (1964-70) per lavorare sulle nuove idee di Davis, che infine portarono all’invenzione del Fusion Jazz. Shorter risultò di cruciale importanza per il progetto di Miles Davis. Non solo il suo sassofono scolpì molto il suono, ma le sue composizioni furono tra le più rilevanti in questa prima fase della carriera di Miles Davis: E.S.P e Iris in E.S.P. (gennaio 1965), Orbits, Footprints e Dolores in Miles Smiles (ottobre 1966), Prince of Darkness, Masqualero e Limbo in Sorcerer (maggio 1967), Nefertiti e Fall in Nefertiti (giugno 1967), Paraphernalia in Miles In The Sky (1968), Sanctuary in Bitches Brew (1969), Great Expectations in Big Fun (1970). Queste composizioni furono così importanti, e tan accuratamente create dal sassofonista, che Shorter potrebbe essere definito come la mente dietro molta della musica di Davis, il quale si limitò ad essere il mero trombettista. Shorter fu un sottile e sofisticato compositore che andò oltre le regole dello standard jazz utilizzando melodie eteree, tempi lenti e tonalità alterate.

In parallelo, gli album di Shorter coniarono un suono onirico, riflessivo e personale che prese in prestito da John Coltrane (principalmente), Art Blakey e Miles Davis mentre puntavano verso la rivoluzione del jazz-rock. Lee Morgan alla tromba, McCoy Tyner al piano, Reggi Workman al basso e Elvin Jones alla batteria (Jones e Tyner erano entrambi membri del Coltrane Quartet) lo aiutarono a scolpire la lirica, viennese Night Dreamer, la romantica ballata Virgo, e le sofisticate armonie di Black Nile e Armageddon in Night Dreamer (aprile 1964).

Il suonare era più coerente (specialmente in JuJu) e le composizioni erano più espressive (particolarmente Yes or No) on Juju (agosto 1964), inciso con lo stesso ritmo ma senza Morgan, ma Shorter audacemente abbandonò il paradigma Coltraniano in Speak No Evil (dicembre 1964). Freddie Hubbard ai fiati, Herbie Hancock al piano, Ron Carter al basso e Jones alla batteria lo aiutarono a trovare un improbabile equilibrio tra hard pop, jazz modale e free jazz mentre allo stesso tempo aumentava l’intensità della melodia. Il suono non era per niente rivoluzionario, ma Witch Hunt e Speak No Evil mostrarono la genialità delle sue composizioni, e la chiusura dell’album con tue morbide ballate, Infant Eyes (forse la più memorabile della sua carriera) e Wild Flower, ha senza dubbio annunciato una nuova era di emozioni nella musica jazz.

The Soothsayer (marzo 1965) segnò il ritorno di Reggie Workman al basso, la sostituzione di Jones con Tony Williams alla batteria, e l’aggiunta dell’alto sassofonista James Spulding accanto a Hubbard e Shorter. Ora che Jones era fuori, Tyner divenne più che mai l’ancora per il suono di Shorter. I tre fiati e il piano offrirono al compositore l’opportunità di sperimentare con strutture più complesse ( The Soothsayer, Lost,  The big Push).

Dopo il controllato Et Cetera (marzo 1965), rilasciato solamente nel 1980 ed anche conosciuto come The Collector, una sezione a quartetto con Hancock, Chambers e il bassista Cecil McBee che comprendeva il brano di undici minuti chiamato Indian Song, Shorter aggiunse il trombettista Grachan Moncur alla sezione dei fiati, la quale già comprendeva se stesso, Hubbard e Spaulding, e alla sezione ritmica di Hancock, Carter e Chambers per The All Seeing Eye (ottobre 1965). La saporita trama strumentale oscurava lo stile melodico di Shorter e fece emergere i più riflessivi e psicologici elementi della sua musica, specialmente in The All Seeing Eye, Genesis and Mephistopheles. Quest’album, in effetti, terminò la lunga relazione di Shorter con la musica di Coltrane. Dopo il tour de force sperimentale, Shorter ritornò ad un formato più umile (un quartetto con Hancock, Workman e Chambers) e una forma musicale più smeplice (Footprints, Adam’s Apple, Chief Crazy Horse) per Adam’s Apple (febbraio 1966). Il sestetto di Schizophrenia (marzo 1967), che comprendeva Spaulding, il trombettista Curtis Fuller e la sezione ritmica di Hancock, Carter e Chambers, continuò a sondare i confini tra la tradizione bebop e l’avanguardia free jazz in brani come Tom Thumb. La sofisticatezza degli arrangiamenti stava rapidamente diventando la principale raison d’etre della musica di Shorter. Dopo tutto, le sue capacità di composizione erano meglio utilizzate nelle incisioni con Davis piuttosto che nelle sue proprie registrazioni. A quanto pare si rese conto di ciò e virò bruscamente verso il suono fusion di Davis in Super Nova (agosto 1969), utilizzando stelle del genere come per esempio il chitarrista elettrico John McLaughlin e Sonny Sharrock, Chick Corea, il bassista Miroslav Vitous, il batterista Jack DeJohnette, etc… e stabilire nuovi standard di domanda-e-risposta tra gli a soli e gli accompagnamenti nel rubato Capricorn.

Moto Grosso Feio (aprile 1970), rilasciato solo nel 1974, aggiunse Dave Holland ai già presenti McLaughlin, Vitous, Carter e Corea e cercò per lo meno di migliorare sugli stereotipi con la lunga Moto Grosso Feio e Iska, ma Odyssey of Iskra (agosto 1970), eseguito da un ottetto con vibrafono, chitarra, due bassi, tre percussionisti, dimostrò che Shorter era alla ricerca del mero intrattenimento da salone.

Allo stesso tempo, Shorter registrò inoltre con Tyner McCoy (1968-70). Nel 1970 Shorter e Joe Zawinul lasciarono Davis per formare i Weather report. Shorter registrò ancora un album di mediocri ballate latin-jazz, Native Dancer (settembre 1974), con il vocalista brasiliano Milton Nascimento e il percussionista Airto Moreira, e collaborò anche con la cantautrice Joni Mitchell (1977-2002), ma la sua energia creativa era chiaramente riservata per la band. Shorter infine lasciò i Weather Report nel 1985, ma il suo nuovo album solista (fortemente influenzato dai suoni elettronici della band) furono sistematicamente una delusione: Atlantis (1985), Phantom Navigator (1986) Joy Rider (1988).

 

 


In the meantime, Shorter also recorded with McCoy Tyner (1968-70). In 1970 Shorter and Joe Zawinul left Davis to form Weather Report. Shorter still recorded an album of mediocre latin-jazz ballads, Native Dancer (september 1974), with Brazilian vocalist Milton Nascimento and percussionist Airto Moreira, and collaborated with singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell (1977-2002), but his creative energy was clearly reserved for the band.
Shorter left Weather Report in 1985, but his new solo albums (heavily influenced by Weather Report's electronic sound) were consistently disappointing: Atlantis (1985), Phantom Navigator (1986), Joy Ryder (1988).

After a long hiatus, Shorter recorded High Life (1994), a collaboration with keyboardist Rachel Z, and 1+1 (1997), a collaboration with Herbie Hancock that contained Aung San Suu Kyi.

In 2000 Shorter formed his first acoustic group, a quartet featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade. Footprints Live (july 2001), Alegria (2003), that added pianist Brad Mehldau, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and percussionist Alex Acuna, and the live albums Beyond the Sound Barrier (april 2004) and Without A Net (december 2011).

The triple-disc set Emanon contains music by the Wayne Shorter Quartet (Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade) and the 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, notably a four-movement suite (february 2013), Shorter's first studio session since Alegria.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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