Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wayne Shorter - The Classic Blue Note Recordings (Blue Note, 2002)

Saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter has been one of the leading lights on the post-war jazz scene as both a band leader and a sideman. This collection brings together some his best work for a compelling introduction to this important figure. The first part of this two disc set contains selections that Shorter recorded made as a leader during his run as a bandleader for the label from 1964-1970. Some of his most enduring melodies can be found here like the indelible “Footprints” which has since become a beloved standard. “Speak No Evil,” “Infant Eyes” and “Witch Hunt” come from his critically lauded album Speak No Evil, and the enigmatic and haunting music on that album has cast a long shadow. The incredibly burning tenor workout “Yes or No” and the title track “Adam’s Apple” come from powerful quartet recordings with Shorter holding court as the only horn. Disc two moves forward and back in Shorter’s musical chronology, pulling several tracks from his tenure in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers where he was musical director and a regular contributor of compositions. “The Chess Players” and the swinging Lester Young tribute “Lester Left Town” anchor an excellent collection of hard bop that also includes Shorter’s contribution to albums by Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. Fast forward to the 1980’s to hear Shorter sitting in with the French pianist Michel Petrucciani. Although it doesn’t cover Shorter’s lengthy tenure in the influential jazz fusion Weather Report or the quartet he’s been leading since the early 2000’s, this is nonetheless an excellent sampling of Shorter's art both as a composer and as an instrumentalist. The Classic Blue Note Recordings -

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