Wayne Shorter

Infobox musical artist

Name = Wayne Shorter
Img_capt = Photo by Tom Beetz
Img_size =
Landscape = yes
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = Birth date and age|1933|8|25|mf=y
Died =
Origin = Newark, New Jersey,
United States
Instrument = Tenor saxophone, Soprano saxophone
Genre = Modal jazz
Crossover jazz
Hard bop
Jazz fusion
Occupation = Composer, bandleader, saxophonist
Years_active = 1959 – present
Label = Blue Note, Verve
Associated_acts = Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Weather Report
Notable_instruments =

Wayne Shorter (born August 25 1933) is an American jazz composer and saxophonist, commonly regarded as one of the most important American jazz saxophonists and composers since the 1960s.

Shorter has recorded dozens of albums as a leader, and appeared on dozens more with others including Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the late 1950s, Miles Davis second great quintet in the 1960s and the jazz-rock fusion band Weather Report, which Shorter co-led in the 1970s. Many of his compositions have become standards.

Early life and career

Shorter was born in Newark, New Jersey, and attended Newark Arts High School. [ [http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/arts/a_brief_history.htm A Brief History] , Newark Arts High School. Accessed August 10, 2008.] He loved music, being encouraged by his father to take up the saxophone as a teenager (his brother Alan became a trumpeter). After graduating from New York University in 1956 Shorter spent two years in the U.S. Army, during which time he played briefly with Horace Silver. After his discharge from the army he played with Maynard Ferguson. It was in his youth that Shorter was given the nickname " Mr.Gone", which would later become an album title for Weather Report. [ [http://www.bigtakeover.com/reviews/weather-report-forecast-tomorrow-columbia-legacy The Big Takeover: Weather Report - Forecast: Tomorrow (Columbia Legacy) : ] ]

In 1959 Shorter joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He stayed with Blakey for five years, and eventually became musical director for the group.

With Miles Davis (1964-70)

When John Coltrane finally left Miles Davis' band in 1960 to pursue his own group(after previously trying to leave in 1959), Coltrane proposed Wayne Shorter as a replacement but Shorter was unavailable and Davis went with Sonny Stitt on tenor followed by a revolving door of Hank Mobley, George Coleman, and Sam Rivers. In 1964, Miles Davis persuaded Shorter to leave Blakey and join his quintet alongside Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. Miles' quintet with Shorter is considered by many to have been Davis's strongest working group. Shorter composed extensively for Davis ("Prince of Darkness", "ESP", "Footprints", "Sanctuary", "Nefertiti", and many others; on some albums he provided half of the compositions), typically hard-bop workouts with spaced-out long melody lines above the beat.

Herbie Hancock had this to say of Shorter's tenure in the group: "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." Davis said: "Wayne is a real composer. He writes scores, write the parts for everybody just as he wants them to sound. He also brought in a kind of curiosity about working with musical rules. If they didn't work, then he broke them, but with musical sense; he understood that freedom in music was the ability to know the rules in order to bend them to your own satisfaction and taste."

Shorter remained in Davis's band after the breakup of the quintet in 1968, playing on early jazz fusion recordings including "In a Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew" (both 1969). His last live dates and studio recordings with Davis were in 1970.

Until 1968 he played tenor saxophone exclusively. The final album on which he played tenor in the regular sequence of Davis albums was "Filles de Kilimanjaro". In 1969 he played the soprano saxophone on the Davis album "In a Silent Way" and on his own "Super Nova" (recorded with then-current Davis sidemen Chick Corea and John McLaughlin). In live Davis recordings from summer 1969 to early spring 1970 he played both saxophones. By the early 1970s, however, he chiefly played soprano saxophone.

olo Blue Note Recordings

Simultaneous with his time in the Miles Davis quintet, Shorter recorded several albums for Blue Note Records, featuring almost exclusively his own compositions, with a variety of line-ups, quartets and larger groups including Blue Note favourites such as Freddie Hubbard. His first Blue Note album (of nine in total) was "Night Dreamer" recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in 1964 with Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman and Elvin Jones.

"JuJu" and "Speak No Evil" are two more well known recordings from this era. Shorter's compositions on these albums are notable for their use of:
*pentatonic melodies harmonised with pedal points and complex harmonic relationships;
*structured solos that reflect the composition's melody as much as its harmony;
*long rests as an integral part of the music, in contrast with other, more effusive, players of the time such as John Coltrane. Indeed the rhythm section on "Night Dreamer" included Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner of Coltrane's classic quartet that had recorded "A Love Supreme" the previous year.

The later album "The All-Seeing Eye" was a free-jazz workout with a larger group, while "Adam's Apple" of 1966 was back to carefully constructed melodies by Shorter leading a quartet. Then a sextet again in the following year for "Schizophrenia" with his Miles Davis band mates Hancock and Carter plus trombonist Curtis Fuller, alto saxophonist/flautist James Spaulding and strong rhythms by drummer Joe Chambers. These albums have recently been remastered by Rudy Van Gelder.

Shorter also recorded occasionally as a sideman (again, mainly for Blue Note) with,Donald Byrd, McCoy Tyner, Grachan Moncur III, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and bandmates Hancock and Williams.

Weather Report period, 1971 to 1985

Following the release of his "Odyssey Of Iska" album in 1970, Shorter along with keyboardist Joe Zawinul (also a veteran of the Miles Davis group) formed the fusion group Weather Report. The other original members were bassist Miroslav Vitous, 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 great variety of excellent musicians that would make up Weather Report alumni over the years (most notably the revolutionary bassist Jaco Pastorius) helped the band produce many high quality recordings in varying styles through the years — with bebop, Latin jazz, ethnic music, and futurism being the most prevalent denominators.


Shorter also recorded critically acclaimed albums as leader, notably "Native Dancer", which featured his Miles Davis band-mate Herbie Hancock and Brazilian composer and vocalist Milton Nascimento. Shorter was to work with both of these musicians again later. He also contributed to several albums by Joni Mitchell. On the title track of Steely Dan's 1978 album "Aja", he played a solo the critic who wrote the album's liner notes called "suitable for framing" (meaning 'beautiful' rather than 'wooden').

Concurrently, in the late 1970s and the early 1980s he toured in the "V.S.O.P." quintet. This group was a revival of the 1960s Miles Davis quintet, except that Freddie Hubbard filled the trumpet chair instead of Miles.

"For further discussion of V.S.O.P. please see Herbie Hancock."

Performing on soprano and tenor saxophone, Shorter was also cast as a 1950s jazz musician in Bertrand Tavernier's 1986 film "Round Midnight".

Recent career

After leaving Weather Report, Shorter continued to record and lead groups in jazz fusion styles, including touring in 1988 with guitarist Carlos Santana. He has also maintained an occasional working relationship with Herbie Hancock, including a tribute album recorded shortly after Davis's death with Hancock, Carter, Williams and Wallace Roney. He continued to appear on Joni Mitchell's records in the 1990s.

In 1995 Shorter released the album "High Life", his first solo recording for seven years. It was also Shorter's 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 would work 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.

The Quartet

Shorter formed his current band in 2000, the first permanent acoustic group under his leadership, a quartet with young musicians, pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade, playing his own complex compositions, many of them reworkings of tunes from his substantial portfolio going back to the 1960s. Two albums of live recordings featuring this quartet have been released ("Footprints Live" (2002) and "Beyond the Sound Barrier" (2005)). The quartet has received great acclaim from fans and critics, especially for the strength of Shorter's tenor saxophone playing. The Shorter biography "Footprints" by journalist Michelle Mercer contains an insight into the working life of these musicians as well as insight into Shorter's life, thoughts and Buddhist beliefs. "Beyond the Sound Barrier" received the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.

Shorter's 2003 album "Alegria" (his first studio album for ten years, since "High Life") received the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album; it features the quartet with a host of other musicians, including pianist Brad Mehldau, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and former Weather Report percussionist Alex Acuña. Shorter's compositions, some new some reworked from his Miles Davis period, feature the complex Latin rhythms that Shorter specialised in during his Weather Report days.

Personal life

Shorter's wife Ana Maria and their niece Dalila were both killed on TWA Flight 800 in 1996, and he married Carolina Dos Santos, a close friend of Ana Maria, in 1999. Shorter is a Nichiren Buddhist and a member of Soka Gakkai.


As leader

* 1959 "Introducing Wayne Shorter"
* 1960 "Second Genesis"
* 1962 "Wayning Moments"
* 1964 "Night Dreamer"
* 1964 "JuJu"
* 1965 "Speak No Evil"
* 1965 "The Soothsayer"
* 1965 "Et Cetera"
* 1965 "The All Seeing Eye"
* 1966 "Adam's Apple"
* 1967 "Schizophrenia"
* 1969 "Super Nova"
* 1970 "Moto Grosso Feio"
* 1970 "Odyssey of Iska"
* 1974 "Native Dancer" with Milton Nascimento
* 1985 "Atlantis"
* 1986 "Phantom Navigator"
* 1988 "Joy Ryder"
* 1988 "Live At the Montreux Jazz Festival 1988" (released 2007, with Carlos Santana)
* 1995 "High Life"
* 2002 "Footprints Live"
* 2003 "Alegría" the Footprints group augmented
* 2005 "Beyond the Sound Barrier" live, with the Footprints group


* Down Beat Poll Winner New Star Saxophonist (1962)
*Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance for Weather Report's "8:30" (1979)
*Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for Dexter Gordon's "Call Sheet Blues" (1987)
*Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group for "A Tribute To Miles" (1994)
*Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for "High Life" (1996)
*Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for "Aung San Suu Kyi" (1997)
*NEA Jazz Masters (1998)
*Honorary Doctorate of Music (1999; Berklee College of Music)
*Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for "In Walked Wayne" (1999)
*Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for "Sacajawea" (2003)
*Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group for "Alegría" (2003)
*Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group for "Beyond The Sound Barrier" (2005)
*Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Award "Small Ensemble Group of the Year" to "Wayne Shorter Quartet" (2006)



*Michelle Mercer, "Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter" (Tarcher/Penguin, 2005)

External links

* [http://www.orbismusic.com/old_site/wayne%20shorter/shorterpaper.html Essay on Wayne Shorter]
* [http://www.jazz.com/features-and-interviews/2008/3/21/in-conversation-with-wayne-shorter "An Interview with Wayne Shorter"] by Bob Blumenthal, ( [http://www.jazz.com Jazz.com] ).
* [http://home.ica.net/~blooms/wshome.html The Complete Wayne Shorter]
* [http://www.zawinulfans.org/modules/sections/index.php?op=viewarticle&artid=43 Wayne Shorter's letter read during Joe Zawinul's funeral]
* [http://www.jazzdisco.org/wayne-shorter/discography/ Wayne Shorter discography]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wayne Shorter — (* 25. August 1933 in Newark, New Jersey) ist ein US amerikanischer Jazz Saxophonist und Komponist. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wayne Shorter — Nom Wayne Shorter Naissance 25 août 1933 Pays d’origine Newark …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wayne Shorter — Wayne Shorter. Wayne Shorter (Newark, 25 de agosto de 1933) es un saxofonista y compositor estadounidense de jazz. Se trata de uno de los músicos de jazz que más activos e influyentes han sido de forma permanente a lo largo de su carrera.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Wayne Shorter discography — Wayne Shorter discography.As leader* 1959 Introducing Wayne Shorter * 1960 Second Genesis * 1962 Wayning Moments * 1964 Night Dreamer * 1964 JuJu * 1965 Speak No Evil * 1965 The Soothsayer * 1965 Et Cetera * 1965 The All Seeing Eye * 1966 Adam s… …   Wikipedia

  • Introducing Wayne Shorter — Infobox Album Name = Introducing Wayne Shorter Type = studio Longtype = debut Artist = Wayne Shorter Cover size = Caption = Released = Recorded = November 9 to November 10, 1959 Genre = Hard bop Length = Language = Label = Vee Jay Records… …   Wikipedia

  • JuJu (Wayne Shorter album) — Infobox Album Name = JuJu Type = Studio album Longtype = Artist = Wayne Shorter Released = 1964 Recorded = Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on August 3, 1964 Genre = Modal jazz Hard bop Post bop Length = 56:12 Label = Blue Note… …   Wikipedia

  • Schizophrenia (Wayne Shorter album) — Infobox Album Name = Schizophrenia Type = Album Artist = Wayne Shorter Released = 1968 Recorded = March 10, 1967 Genre = Hard bop Length = Label = Blue Note Producer = Alfred Lion Reviews = *amg|id=10:axfwxqygldae|rating|4.5|5 Last album = The… …   Wikipedia

  • Super Nova (Wayne Shorter album) — Infobox Album Name = Super Nova Type = Album Artist = Wayne Shorter Released = 1969 Recorded = August 29 September 2, 1969 Genre = Hard bop, Jazz fusion Length = 37:50 Label = Blue Note Producer = Alfred Lion Reviews =… …   Wikipedia

  • Second Genesis (Wayne Shorter album) — Infobox Album Name = Second Genesis Type = studio Longtype = Artist = Wayne Shorter Cover size = Caption = Released = Recorded = October 11, 1960 Genre = Hard bop Length = 34:54 Language = Label = Vee Jay Records Producer = Reviews = Allmusic… …   Wikipedia

  • Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter - Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1988 — Infobox Album | Name = Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1988 Type = Live Artist = Santana Recorded = Released = March 27, 2007 Genre = Blues Rock Label = Image Entertainment Live at Montreux Jazz Festival is a 2007 live album by Carlos Santana… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.