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Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil

Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil

Wayne Shorter, (born August 25, 1933, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.), American musician and composer, a major jazz saxophonist, among the most influential hard-bop and modal musicians and a pioneer of jazz-rock fusion music.

Shorter studied at New York University (B.M.E., 1956) and served in the U.S. Army (1956–58). He spent brief periods in the Horace Silver quintet (1956) and the Maynard Ferguson big band (1958) before his first major association, with Art Blakey’s hard-bop Jazz Messengers (1959–63). He joined Miles Davis’s modal jazz quintet as a tenor saxophonist in 1964 and stayed with him during Davis’s early fusion music experiments, leaving in 1970 as a soprano saxophonist.

Throughout the 1970s and much of the ’80s, Shorter and keyboard player Joe Zawinul together led Weather Report, a fusion band that explored an uncommon variety of sound colours. He returned frequently to the tenor saxophone and in later years led his own fusion music groups.

Shorter’s improvising was always notable for its great harmonic and rhythmic sophistication. His early tenor saxophone solos, inspired by Sonny Rollins, featured rare formal unity using thematic improvisation techniques, often with drama and humour (“Afrique,” “High Modes”). A growing concern with lyricism resulted in considerable stylistic revision and the use of more diffuse forms by the mid-1960s; much of his playing suggested a reinterpretation of John Coltrane’s style. His early soprano saxophone work, including the Super Nova album (1969), is especially notable for its melodic flow. A prolific composer, Shorter wrote many of his finest songs for the Blakey and Davis groups, including “Lester Left Town,” “Ping Pong,” “Children of the Night,” and “Footprints.”.

Following the release of Odyssey of Iska in 1970, Shorter formed the fusion group Weather Report with Davis veteran keyboardist Joe Zawinul and bassist Miroslav Vitous. The other original members were percussionist Airto Moreira, and drummer Alphonse Mouzon. After Vitous’ departure in 1973, Shorter and Zawinul co-led the group until the band’s break-up in late 1985. A variety of musicians would make up Weather Report over the years (most notably the revolutionary bassist Jaco Pastorius) helping the band produce many high quality recordings in diverse styles, with funk, bebop, Latin jazz, ethnic music, and futurism being the most prevalent denominators.

After leaving Weather Report, Shorter continued to record and lead groups in jazz fusion styles, including touring in 1988 with guitarist Carlos Santana, who appeared on This is This!, the last Weather Report disc. There is a concert video recorded at the Lugano Jazz Festival in 1987, with Jim Beard, keyboards, Carl James, bass, Terri Lyne Carrington, drums, and Marilyn Mazur, percussion. In 1989, he contributed to a hit on the rock charts, playing the sax solo on Don Henley‘s song “The End of the Innocence” and also produced the album Pilar by the Portuguese singer-songwriter Pilar Homem de Melo. He has also maintained an occasional working relationship with Herbie Hancock, including a tribute album recorded shortly after Miles Davis’s death with Hancock, Carter, Williams and Wallace Roney. He continued to appear on Mitchell’s records in the 1990s and can be heard on the soundtrack of the Harrison Ford film The Fugitive (1993).

In 1995, Shorter released the album High Life, his first solo recording for seven years. It was also his debut as a leader for Verve Records. Shorter composed all the compositions on the album and co-produced it with the bassist Marcus Miller. High Life received the Grammy Award for best Contemporary Jazz Album in 1997.

Shorter worked with Hancock once again in 1997, on the much acclaimed and heralded album 1+1. The song “Aung San Suu Kyi” (named for the Burmese pro-democracy activist) won both Hancock and Shorter a Grammy Award.

In 2009, he was announced as one of the headline acts at the Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira, Morocco. His 2013 album Without a Net is his first with Blue Note Records since Odyssey of Iska.

Shorter continued to perform into the early 21st century, and his later albums included Atlantis (1985), High Life (1995), and Without a Net (2013); the latter was one of several that featured the quartet of Shorter, Danilo Pérez (piano), John Patitucci (bass), and Brian Blade (drums). Shorter received more than 10 Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 2015. Three years later he was named a Kennedy Center honoree.

On September 17, 2013, Shorter received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

On December 18, 2014, the Recording Academy announced that Shorter was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of his “prolific contributions to our culture and history”.

In 2016, Shorter was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of music composition, the only jazz artist to receive the honor that year.

In 2017, Shorter was announced as the joint winner of the Polar Music Prize. The award committee stated: “Without the musical explorations of Wayne Shorter, modern music would not have drilled so deep.”

In 2018, Shorter was a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor Award.

Discography

Main article: Wayne Shorter discography

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