|Img Capt:||Photo by Tom Beetz|
|Born:||August 25, 1933|
|Origin:||Newark, New Jersey,|
|Instrument:||Tenor saxophone (Otto Link hard rubber #10 mouthpiece) and Soprano saxophone (Otto Link hard rubber #8)|
|Occupation:||Composer, bandleader, saxophonist|
|Years Active:||1959 – present|
|Label:||Blue Note, Verve|
|Associated Acts:||Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Weather Report|
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's 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.
Shorter was born in Newark, New Jersey, and attended Newark Arts High School. 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. 
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.
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.
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.
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 funk, 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 many 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.
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.
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.
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.
See main article: Wayne Shorter discography.
|Introducing Wayne Shorter||1959||Vee-Jay|
|Night Dreamer||1964||Blue Note|
|Speak No Evil||1965||Blue Note|
|The Soothsayer||1965||Blue Note|
|Et Cetera||1965||Blue Note|
|The All Seeing Eye||1965||Blue Note|
|Adam's Apple||1966||Blue Note|
|Super Nova||1969||Blue Note|
|Moto Grosso Feio||1970||Blue Note|
|Odyssey of Iska||1970||Blue Note|
|Native Dancer with Milton Nascimento||1974||Columbia|
|1 + 1 with Herbie Hancock||1997||Verve|
|Beyond the Sound Barrier||2005||Verve|