If you think the greatest WayneShorter album isn't high enough on the list, then be sure to vote for it, so it receives the credit it deserves. The American jazz saxophonist has released a long list of albums throughout his career, along with winning the Polar Music Prize.
24 Tracks: At the Fair, Black Swan (In Memory of Susan Portland Romeo), On the Milky Way Express It’s not easy culling the best tracks from WayneShorter’s vast recorded output, which spans more than half a century.
While his Blue Note opus Speak No Evil turns fifty this month, WayneShorter’s sound has reached way beyond the structures of straight-ahead jazz. At home in fusion, rock and Brazilian contexts, the saxophonist has one of the most impressive resumes in music and a catalog all collectors worth their salt should be aware of.
Shorter’s eventual addition to Davis’ group would provide the missing piece for the Second Great Quintet, an ensemble that arguably stretched the possibilities of the straight-ahead jazz combo as far as they could go. Shorter’s flexible musicianship allows him to effortlessly play bebop, fit seamlessly into jazz-rock and Brazilian-inspired contexts, and create some of the most captivating small group music of the modern jazz scene.
Recorded less than a year after Speak No Evil, this album is more openly conceptual than its predecessor: according to Nat Hen toff’s liner notes, the music “depicts God looking over the universe before His act of Creation”. After locking himself away in his room away from the usual jazz lifestyle while on tour, Shorter would politely hand Davis these remarkably challenging new charts that would immediately dominate the Second Great Quintet’s repertoire.
Known for his ethereal falsetto, the fluidity of Nascimento’s Portuguese effortlessly integrates with the sound of Shorter’s soprano saxophone and Hancock’s electronic pianos. Shorter’s contributions to Nascimento’s ‘Point de Areia’ and ‘Miracle of the Fishes’ are particularly inspiring, while his own ‘Ana Maria’ and the grooving ‘Beauty and the Beast’ take this record beyond an exceptional Brazilian-jazz fusion album to an unqualified masterpiece.
Shorter and Austrian-born keyboardist Joe Painful, another alumni of Davis’s electronic bands, co-founded Weather Report to further explore the synthesis of jazz and rock. The album’s final track, ‘Goodbye Pork pie Hat’, originally written by Mingus in memoriam to saxophonist Lester Young, is here repurposed through Mitchell’s new lyrics and the spontaneous accompaniment from Shorter & co. to bid farewell to the larger-than-life bassist.
Shorter’s soprano saxophone, once necessary to cut through the dense electronic textures of Miles’s electric bands and Weather Report, instead supplies an intimate setting on 1 + 1. Of particular note is the album’s second track, ‘Sung San Sub FYI’, an homage to the Burmese politician, civil rights activist, and Nobel Prize winner that would earn Shorter a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 1998.
Far and away his most eclectic album, Algeria consistently shifts between expansive, extemporaneous performances with his acoustic quartet (with pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Pattitucci, and drummer Brian Blade) and chamber orchestra style arrangements. Shorter’s recasting of his original ‘Orbits’ for wind quartet, cello, and jazz rhythm section breathes new life into the decades-old composition.
WayneShorter Quartet Featuring Danilo Perez, John Patitucci And Brian Blade Without a Net (Blue Note Records, 2013) The WayneShorter Quartet returned from an 8-year recording hiatus to produce an album which, as the title slyly alludes, is a collection of live performances.
Photo: WayneShorter photographed by Francis Wolff at the 1964 session for Lee Morgan’s “Search for the New Land” / Courtesy of Blue Note Records IL collaborate ICI Alec DE grands norms Du jazz fusion American, WayneShorter DE Weather Report Au saxophone, Herbie Hancock aux claviers, Ron Carter à la base acoustic ET Tony Williams à la batteries.