Best Of Wayne Shorter

Ava Flores
• Monday, 11 January, 2021
• 8 min read

Your Amazon Music account is currently associated with a different marketplace. Although one can't lose with any of Shorter's classic Blue Note titles from the '60s, this sampler is perfect for newcomers just wanting to get their feet wet.

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There's also the title cut from Just (replete with a sparkling Elvin Jones solo) and the superb “Lost” off of The Soothsayer. With more than enough Shorter material to dive into, and top hard bop contributions from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, James Spaulding, and Joe Chambers, these oversights shouldn't pose any great dilemmas.

# 1-2 recorded Dec. 24, 1964 in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and originally issued on 'Speak No Evil', Blue Note BST-84194# 3 recorded March 10, 1967, in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and originally issued on 'Schizophrenia', Blue Note BST-84297# 4 recorded March 4, 1965, in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and originally issued on 'The Soothsayer', Blue Note LT-988# 5-6 recorded Feb. 3, 1966 in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and originally issued on 'Adam's Apple', Blue Note BST-84232# 7 recorded April 29, 1964, in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and originally issued on 'Night Dreamer', Blue Note BST-84173# 8 recorded August 3, 1964, in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and originally issued on 'Ju', Blue Note BST-84182# 9 recorded Sept. 29, 1969 in New York City and originally issued on 'Super Nova', Blue Note BST-84332# 7, 8 & 9 do not appear on LP configuration. Not stated on release, but WayneShorter plays indeed soprano sax on track 9 (Water Babies).

With all due respect, if you take Lee Morgan away from me, I still have Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard and Nat Adderley. I first became aware of the name WayneShorter as a freshman in high school when, in perusing of Musician magazine there was a long interview with him and Carlos Santana (who I already loved) about their then-current collaboration.

But not long after, George Radio (my jazz teacher throughout high school) loaned me Speak No Evil and my ears began to open up. To say it blew my mind would be largely missing the point, because it immediately made sense to me on an intuitive level.

Note that these are just tunes from Wayne’s records as a bandleader (which spares me from also having to accommodate his contributions to the Miles Davis Quintet, Art Blake and the Jazz Messengers, Weather Report and so on). This track in particular showed me, through the writing, Wayne’s incredibly soulful and melodic solo and Elvin Jones’ hard-swinging drums, how such harmonically advanced music could actually evoke the blues as powerfully as anything by Robert Johnson.

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This is where I steer students first when I want them to understand how to play in 3/4 time in a manner that is neither boxy nor amorphous, thanks in large part to Joe Chambers’ drumming. Wayne and Herbie Hancock both play with immense soul here, particularly inspiring given the quirks of the chords they are navigating.

It was years before I heard Jimmy Roles’ original version of the song (from Jive For Five by the Bill Holman/Mel Lewis Quintet) and while I enjoy that too, it served more to help me fully appreciate just how much of a stamp Wayne put on his arrangement of the tune. A tender Portuguese reading of the Job classic by Walter Booker (usually a bassist, here on nylon-stringed guitar) and his wife Maria on vocals is sandwiched between segments of passionate dissonance with Wayne on soprano and a large and energetic rhythm section featuring Sonny Shamrock’s guitar and the percussion of Air to, Jack DeJohnette and, on drums, Chick Core.

During the era when a groove tune was expected to open many Blue Note records, Wayne figured out how to do that without any compromise to the depth of his vision (which one could cite as foreshadowing his successful work in fusion, though I ain’t going’ there). This soulful but edgy track features powerful Shorter soprano work over a rich, dense rhythm section augmented by Ron Carter’s cello and Chick Core’s marimba.

The Soothsayer is to me kind of like Stevie Wonder’s Hotter Than July or Coltrane’s Plays the Blues in that it’s not one of my top 5 records for that artists, but I’d probably listen to it constantly if it was the only one I had. The frontline here (with Freddie Hubbard and James Spaulding) is extremely powerful, as is the too-rare rhythm section pairing of the Ron Carter/Tony Williams duo with McCoy Tyler on piano.

Last Sold: Never Lowest: -- Median: -- Highest: -- From jazz to classical music, orchestras, and marching bands, the entertainment they’ve provided over the years is virtually limitless.

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Best known for his abilities as a jazz musician, Armstrong also featured in films, one of which was “High Society” back in 1956. Even today, Louis Armstrong remains one of the most reputable and best trumpet players of all time, and this was recognized through the mound of awards and honors that he received along the way.

Born into a middle-class background, the famous musician from Illinois started playing the trumpet at the young age of 12 years old. Born in 1917 in South Carolina, Dizzy was an extremely talented composer, trombone player, and singer-songwriter.

That combined with his ability to build on the virtuoso of Roy Eldridge meant he was also able to become one of the best jazz players in the world. While he died in January 1993, Dizzy Gillespie continues to influence the musical world with his reputation alone.

Born in 1928, Walter Maynard Ferguson was a Canadian bandleader and jazz musician who became famous by playing in Stan Kenton’s orchestra. Aside from his impact on the jazz world, Ferguson has an evolution of albums that range from classical, operatic, Latin, rock, and even bebop among others.

James Morrison performed the opening of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, has been a presenter on Top Gear, and has won best jazz album at the Aria Music Awards in 2010. Known to be very good friends with Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge was one of the best trumpet players and jazz musicians in the world.

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What started as a hobby playing for carnivals and circus bands quickly led to fame and global recognition. Best known for his song “Joy Spring”, Clifford Brown was born in 1930 and started showing signs of incredible talent as a trumpeter in his early teenage years.

While he lived a very short life because of a fatal car accident in 1956, Brown is known as one of the best trumpet players that ever walked the globe. Known as one of the best hard bop musicians in the 60s, Morgan became famous in his teenage years, recording on John Coltrane’s Blue Train.

Guitarist Bill Fri sell will perform his original score live, with trumpeter Ron Miles, bassist Tony Sch err and drummer Kenny Mollison. So it's wholly appropriate that Symphony Center would honor DeJohnette's 70th with a birthday tribute, in this case a reunion of his “Gateway” trio with guitarist John Abercrombie and bassist Dave Holland.

Scott won't be here for this reunion, but considering that trumpet virtuoso Nicholas Payton will be taking his place, the project couldn't be stronger. Better still, the evening will open with a solo set by Cuban musician Gonzalo Rubalcaba, perhaps the greatest jazz pianist working today.

The latter stands as one of the most talked-about young jazz musicians of recent times, here making his Symphony Center debut as a headliner. Every performance by the giant of the tenor saxophone ranks as an important occasion, not only because of his reputation and legacy but also because of how much of himself he pours into every set.

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“I had been interested in trying to find a way to bring Norbert here … and even the first meeting, I (mentioned) the 'Rivers' idea, and his ears perked up, as it were,” says Baha. He'll turn 80 in August 2013 and will mark the occasion performing with his quartet, an imposing band featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade.

And Baha says he's interested in exploring future collaborations with New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which presented an important jazz-meets-ballet concert at Symphony Center in February. The musical style that comprises the compositions in Weather Report expresses a very familiar aesthetic.

The orchestrations exhibit a more atmospheric approach to Jazz music, a continuation of a concept often explored by Miles Davis throughout his electric period. This of course comes to no surprise as lead composers, Joe Painful and WayneShorter, worked with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew the previous year.

Like Bitches Brew, the music in Weather Report puts a great deal of emphasis on atmospheric textures, providing an ambient landscape for the musicians to indulge in their own soloist voyages. There are very little moments of musical spontaneity and dexterous instrumental passages- the core essence of a Jazz performance.

The album opens with “Milky Way”, which serves as an ambient overture to induce a celestial environment, a calming soundscape to stimulate our senses before the actual performance. In “Umbrellas”, Alphonse Mouton's drumming establishes a rhythmic landscape, one which all the other instruments use as the foundation to improvise their own solos.

wayne hancock shorter herbie brian chico bandsintown lynn festival piano
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But where the music of “Umbrellas” was more mellow and exploratory, “Seventh Arrow” picks up the pace for a more elevated performance. Alphonse Mouton and bassist Miroslaw Vitus take it upon themselves to provide a much more accelerated framework for the song, with each instrument venturing into their own solos one by one.

WayneShorter is erupting in and out on the saxophone with his solo deliveries, Joe Painful decorates the harmonic groove with piano arrangements, while Miroslaw Vitus and Alphonse Mouton release vigorously dynamic rhythmic variations in the background. Songs like “Orange Lady” and “Morning Lake” express a more gentle instrumentation, with Joe Painful providing a meditative ethereal landscape decorated in psychedelia, adding a dream like texture to the music.

WayneShorter also provides delicate saxophone solos to add to the gentle ambience at hand. “Tears” and “Eurydice” are a return to a more lively performance, but they are not nearly as captivating as “Seventh Arrow”.

And it certainly succeeds in producing an exquisitely tracing environment, but it hardly ever takes us to a more exciting realm. What makes albums like In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew such mesmerizing listening experiences is that they are odysseys.

Leaving us to explore various musical dimensions, each one providing something different, with moments of ups and downs to captivate our enthusiasm. But Weather Report relies too much on ambience and delicate textures to try and allure us into its world, and unfortunately, that's what keeps it from being a classic.

shorter wayne jazz
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Not big on jazz fusion in general but there are a bunch of quality acts like this one My dad loves these guys, just “borrowed” this CD from his living room, and it's pretty damn solid.

Though I agree it is a shame, because songs like “Heraldic” really show off how well they can get into energetic jams without going overboard with it.

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