Tuesday, August 25, 2009

O sax tenorista Wayne Shorter nasceu em Newark, New Jersey, no 25 de Agosto de 1933 e iniciou-se nas artes musicais na Newark Arts High School com vinte anos se mudou para New York e sua primeira aparição significativa foi com o combo de Horace Silver.

Seu próximo passo foi no conjunto de Maynard Fergunson em 1956 e três anos depois ele estava junto com Freddie Hubbard no Jazz Messengers de Art Blakey.Em 1964 fazia parte junto com Hubbard, Hancock,Tony Williams e Ron Carter do prestigiado Miles Davis Quintet, onde seria o maior responsável pela criação dos temas do grupo. Dessa fase se destacam as gravações de “E.S.P.”, “Nefertiti” e “Miles Smiles”.

Quando Miles passou para a fase do jazz fusion, Shorter já estava inteiramente dedicado ao sax soprano, participando de belos solos em “Filles de Kilimandjaro”, “In a Silent Way” e “Bitches Brew”. A partir de 1971 ele funda com o tecladista austríaco Joe Zawinul o poderoso combo de jazz fusion “Wheather Report” e no final da década, junto com seus velhos companheiros, Hancock, Carter, Williams e com Hubbard no trompete eles reeditam o Miles Davis Quintet sob o nome de V.S.O.P.

Depois que saiu do “Weather Report” no final dos anos 80, Shorter passa por uma fase tocando fusion, mas já na década de 90 ele se reencontra com o acústico realizando grandes álbuns, entre eles, o duo que fez com Hancock.

Click para ve-lo com Miles Davis e Ron Carter.

Though some will argue about whether Wayne Shorter's primary impact on jazz has been as a composer or as a saxophonist, hardly anyone will dispute his overall importance as one of jazz's leading figures over a long span of time. Though indebted to a great extent to John Coltrane, with whom he practiced in the mid-'50s while still an undergraduate, Shorter eventually developed his own more succinct manner on tenor sax, retaining the tough tone quality and intensity and in later years, adding an element of funk.

On soprano, Shorter is almost another player entirely, his lovely tone shining like a light beam, his sensibilities attuned more to lyrical thoughts, his choice of notes becoming more spare as his career unfolded. Shorter's influence as a player, stemming mainly from his achievements in the 1960s and '70s, has been tremendous upon the neo-bop brigade who emerged in the early '80s, most notably Brandford Marsalis.

As a composer, he is best known for carefully conceived, complex, long-limbed, endlessly winding tunes, many of which have become jazz standards yet have spawned few imitators.Shorter started on the clarinet at 16 but switched to tenor sax before entering New York University in 1952. After graduating with a BME in 1956, he played with Horace Silver for a short time until he was drafted into the Army for two years. Once out of the service, he joined Maynard Ferguson's band, meeting Ferguson's pianist Joe Zawinul in the process.

The following year (1959), Shorter joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, where he remained until 1963, eventually becoming the band's music director. During the Blakey period, Shorter also made his debut on records as a leader, cutting several albums for Chicago's Vee-Jay label. After a few prior attempts to hire him away from Blakey, Miles Davis finally convinced Shorter to join his Quintet in September 1964, thus completing the lineup of a group whose biggest impact would leap-frog a generation into the '80s.Staying with Miles until 1970, Shorter became at times the band's most prolific composer, contributing tunes like "E.S.P.," "Pinocchio," "Nefertiti," "Sanctuary," "Footprints," "Fall" and the signature description of Miles, "Prince of Darkness." While playing through Miles' transition from loose post-bop acoustic jazz into electronic jazz-rock, Shorter also took up the soprano in late 1968, an instrument which turned out to be more suited to riding above the new electronic timbres than the tenor. As a prolific solo artist for Blue Note during this period, Shorter expanded his palette from hard bop almost into the atonal avant-garde, with fascinating excursions into jazz/rock territory toward the turn of the decade.

In November 1970, Shorter teamed up with old cohort Joe Zawinnul and Miroslav Vitous to form Weather Report, where after a fierce start, Shorter's playing grew mellower, pithier, more consciously melodic, and gradually more subservient to Zawinul's concepts. By now, he was playing mostly on soprano, though the tenor would re-emerge more toward the end of WR's run. Shorter's solo ambitions were mostly on hold during the WR days, resulting in but one atypical solo album, Native Dancer, an attractive side-trip into Brazilian-American tropicalismo in tandem with Milton Nascimento.
Shorter also revisited the past in the late '70s by touring with Freddie Hubbard and ex-Miles sidemen Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams as V.S.O.P. Shorter finally left Weather Report in 1985, but promptly went into a creative slump from which he has yet to fully recover.

Still committed to electronics and fusion, his recorded compositions from this point became more predictable and labored, saddled with leaden rhythm sections and overly complicated arrangements. After three routine Columbia albums during 1986-88, he lapsed into silence, finally emerging in 1995 with High Life, a somewhat more engaging collaboration with keyboardist Rachel Z.. In concert, he has fielded an erratic series of bands, which could be incoherent one year (1995), and lean and fit the next (1996). Throughout the difficult decade, though, Shorter continued to play well, even brilliantly at times — and he lived up to his high reputation when touring with Carlos Santana's Latin jazz-rock alumni band in 1988 and with Wallace Roney and the V.S.O.P. rhythm section in the "A Tribute to Miles" band in 1992. Given his long track record, Shorter's every record and appearance are still eagerly awaited by fans in the hope that he will thrill them again.

Reference — Richard S. Ginell

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