It’s good to be on the board, yes.
In progress. Polanco puts the home squad up with an early solo dinger.
Wayne Shorter’s best-known solo might be the one he cut forSteely Dan’s “Aja.” But he was no stranger to playing with musicians in more popular genres. He not only played on two Santana albums, but formed a band with Santana that toured and played Montreux. He played the soaring sax part on the last tune closing out the Rolling Stones’ Bridges to Babylon. And from 1977–2002, he played on ten Joni Mitchell albums.
Two longtime friends & collaborators, live at the North Sea Jazz Festival, playing a track the recorded for their 1997 duet album 1+1. The venue for this performance, the Hague’s Statenhal, was demolished four years after this recording. Only Hancock remains.
In progress; Louie Varland has given up an uncharacteristic two homers in the early innings.
What’s your favorite combination of musical genres or styles? What musicians or groups combine those styles in ways you particularly enjoy?
Drop a list with your top ten cross-genre tracks (and a random ten, if you choose) below.
Wayne Shorter and Josef Zawinul were bandmates eleven years before they co-founded Weather Report; they played together in the Birdland Dream Band led by Maynard Ferguson. Shorter went on to join Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, while Zawinul moved over to Cannonball Adderley’s sextet & quintet. Zawinul came over to play alongside Shorter in the studio group that supported Miles Davis’ foray into jazz-rock and fusion with In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.
This excerpt from their 1976 appearance at Montreux features a tune written by the group’s new bassist, Jaco Pastorius, who had been with the group for just a couple months. Pastorius replaced Alphonso Johnson, splitting duties on Black Market, released the same year as this performance. Johnson had replaced original bassist Miroslav Vitouš in late 1973. As time wore on, Weather Report’s creative energies shifted from a Zawinul-Shorter polarity to a fractious Zawinul-Pastorius dynamic, but here the group is in near-peak form and Shorter shows he can blow the doors off a tune written by anyone.
And as a bonus, here’s the Shorter/Zawinul duet from that performance:
Miles. Wayne Shorter. Herbie Hancock. Ron Carter. Tony Williams*.
This is the supergroup Wayne Shorter joined when he left Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. He was the last man to join Miles’ Second Great Quintet. Herbie later remarked, “The master writer to me, in that group, was Wayne Shorter. He still is a master. Wayne was one of the few people who brought music to Miles that didn't get changed.”
Wayne wrote & first recorded “Footprints” for his own album, Adam’s Apple, with Herbie on the keys, Reggie Workman on bass, and Joe Chambers on the kit. However, that album wasn’t released until eight months after Miles Smiles, where it closed out Side 1.
* Tony Williams is 21 here, and he’d been playing with Miles for four years already. Miles was twice his age. Neither made it to the turn of the century; Miles’ hard living caught up with him in 1991 at age 65, while Tony Williams was claimed by a heart attack in 1997; he was just 51. One hopes we are blessed to enjoy Ron Carter & Herbie Hancock a fair bit longer.
The lineup of the Jazz Messengers changed many times over the years as it nurtured and developed incandescent talents. Wayne Shorter joined the group in August 1959 after crossing paths with Lee Morgan.
Almost every Jazz Messengers album of the era features at least a couple Shorter compositions. “Children of the Night” appeared on Mosaic (1962), recorded in October of ‘61 for Blue Note in the Van Gelder studio. Lee Morgan had left the band by that point, replaced by Freddie Hubbard. Wayne Shorter exited the group in late 1964.
With Wayne Shorter’s passing, of those performing here only Reggie Workman remains with us.
If you’re an 88 year old living jazz legend whose health has dictated retirement from performing, what remains on your list of unsummitted challenges? How about writing an opera? If you have Wayne Shorter’s composing chops, that’s what you do. And for your librettist, how about a future legend like esperanza spalding? She might be the most brilliant artist of her generation, and she’s offered to take a year off of work to get the work finished. The source material? The last extant work of Euripides.
Before Shorter & spalding wrote ...(Iphigenia), before Shorter retired his horn, before spalding released Emily’s D+Evolution, they played the Solidarity of Arts festival in Gdańsk. With them on this tune are Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington (who had previously recorded with all three), and Leo Genovese, spalding’s frequent pianist.