Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wayne Shorter Without A Net

Wayne Shorter has a new album, his first for Blue Note in 43 years.  I have a very special place in my heart for Shorter.  When I first began collecting jazz a few years back, his work was one of my areas of concentration.  I still think his Blue Note recordings (Speak No Evil and Juju come to mind) were examples of pure genius. 
Without A Net is more than one could hope for.  Here is the band:
1.       pianist Danilo Pérez,
2.      bassist John Pattitucci, and
3.      drummer Brian Blade
It is no surprise that the recording is getting a lot of laudatory reviews.  Shorter is, if not a jazz god, at least a jazz demi-god.  Shorter will turn 80 this year, if my math is correct.  It is nothing short of astonishing that he plays with so much energy and imagination.  Shorter is playing soprano sax on the album as he did on some of cuts from the 1969 European recordings with Miles Davis.  Here, however, he has a very different sound. 
I think that his playing is eerily reminiscent of Steve Lacy, especially on the first cut.  There is surely nothing here that would be familiar to anyone who knows his work for Blue Note or his history with Art Blakey and Miles, let alone his fusion period.  Shorter is doing something original here.  One could only wish to get more of it.
I am playing ‘Orbits’ and ‘Starry Night’.  I am also playing ‘Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum’ from Speak No Evil, and ‘Mahjong’ from Juju. 

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