Tag Archives: Wayne Shorter

You know someone great has gone: in memoriam Wayne Shorter

Tremendously sad to hear of the passing of Jazz Giant, legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter, at the age of 89. whether as side-man in the Second Great Miles Davis Quintet, co-founder of  fusion giants Weather Report, working with Joni Mitchell, or forging his own solo albums such as Speak No Evil and Maiden Voyage, Shorter’s unique sound has been creating new paths in jazz since the 60s. Songs like ‘Footprints’ have become popular jazz standards, or another Shorter original,  the achingly lyrical ‘Infant Eyes’ from Speak No Evil;

Here’s Shorter weaving his unique magic alongside Joni Mitchell on the latter’s Mingus in Mingus’ own ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat:’

Listen to his heart-breakingly beautiful, lyrical playing on Miles’ timeless album In a Silent Way:

or his fiercely inventive sound on ‘Havona’ from Heavy Weather this weekend to commemorate a true Jazz Giant.

As Joni said, ‘You know someone great has gone…’


On Radio 3 this week: Shorter and the Queen of Sheba

Just to draw your attention to a couple of highlights on Radio 3’s iPlayer this week.

First up, the colossus of the saxophone world Wayne Shorter leads his quartet in a live session recorded at the Barbican earlier this month. Former Miles Davis sideman, one of the original members of fusion giants Weather Report, and a player who showed there could be life after Coltrane, this is Shorter’s first UK appearance for a number of years.

Also on iPlayer is a rarity, a piece from composer Alec Roth: his Departure of the Queen of Sheba, (1999)  received its first broadcast in a concert with the Orchestra of the Swan in Loughborough last night. Roth has written some fantastic pieces: his Chinese Gardens for tenor and guitar is a miniature gem of immaculate refinement, whilst his choral work Shared Ground displays a rich harmonic language with sumptuous colour, with the occasional hint of Vaughan Williams.

Roth’s companion piece to Handel’s lively depiction of her arrival depicts the famous Queen and King Solomon meeting in the Garden of Earthly delights; Roth includes Handel’s theme in an altered fashion, and the work is scored for the same forces as Handel’s but includes a cor anglais. The emotional atmosphere of Roth’s work is far removed from the buccolic jollity of the Queen’s arrival, and instead is profoundly lachrymaic, with the oboe and cor anglais weaving heart-rending melodic lines in a tender dialogue over an almost minimalist accompanying texture.

The piece beings forty minutes in to the programme, and is preceded by a short interview with the composer.

Don’t miss either.