An appreciation by Jack Kenny

Wayne Shorter is one of the most individual voices in jazz.  He spoke little and, when he did talk, it was enigmatic.  His music across the years says everything that words can only hint at.

These are some of his key collaborations.

Art Blakey – Lester Left Town (Blue Note) 1960

Art Blakey encouraged new talent. Wayne Shorter’s original quirky composition is dedicated to Lester Young who was greatly admired by Shorter.

Gil Evans – The Barbara Song (Verve) 1964

Like Gil Evans, Wayne Shorter was diffident and elusive.  Wayne’s solo here, where he emerges out of Gil’s exquisite writing, is beautiful and melancholy.

Miles Davis – Footprints (Columbia) 1966

The Miles Davis second quintet is probably one of the greatest groups in jazz.  Wayne Shorter’s composing was a crucial influence on the work of the group.

Weather Report – Mr Gone (Columbia) 1978

‘Mr Gone’ was reputedly Shorter because of his almost mystical personality.

Wayne Shorter Quartet – Beyond the Sound Barrier (2004)

This album was recorded between November 2002 to April 2004 in Europe, America, and Asia. Danilo Perez (piano), John Patitucci (bass) and Brian Blade (drums) were treated as equal partners involved in musical conversations.  It is revolutionary music influenced by Shorter’s Buddhist beliefs and a pointer to the way forward for jazz.

Recommended Reading

Michelle Mercer – Footprints (The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter) Penguin Group 2004