Wayne Shorter in 1964

thu 16 mar 2023
Theme: Jazz
at Mar 18, 5:00 PM – House of Hard Bop.
1964 is an important year for saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter. After a long and successful period as musical director at Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers, he is taking the next step. He starts a new adventure with Miles Davis, who is eager to have him: “Wayne is a real composer. He writes scores, writes the parts for everybody just as he wants them to sound (…).” And so he becomes part of the line-up that will later be referred to as Davis’s Second Great Quintet. In addition, Shorter has another musical agenda. In the same year he records three albums under his own name for Blue Note Records that will receive a high rating: Night Dreamer, JuJu and Speak No Evil. You will hear some parts of Night Dreamer, and then the full album Speak No Evil.
On Night Dreamer Shorter plays with trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Elvin Jones. First the title piece, then Black Nile.
Speak No Evil
The leader works here with two of his new band members in the Miles Davis quintet: pianist Herbie Hancock and bassist Ron Carter. Trumpeter is Freddie Hubbard, and once again Elvin Jones is the drummer.
The various themes are quite lengthy, and relatively take up a large part of the total duration of a piece – also in the closing passages. They are therefore very atmospheric. Repetition of motifs and phrases, long sustained tones, simple diphthongs of the wind instruments – often in unison – and the rhythmic movement together radiate intensity. The ‘scream’ in Witch Hunt… Rising tension… we also hear it in the solos.
All pieces have a fixed tempo and metre, but pianist Hancock and drummer Jones in particular move freely above the bar lines and between beats. All this with a high level of ‘groupiness’ within the quintet. It’s better to listen to it in it’s entirety, this Speak No Evil. About Wayne Shorter’s inspiration: “I was thinking of misty landscapes with wildflowers and strange, dimly-seen shapes – the kind of places where folklore and legends are born.” Titles like Witch Hunt, Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum and Speak No Evil are an expression of this.
Always welcome information for the interested listener, but even without these extra-musical details the music comes in 100%.
The record sleeve features an atmospheric photo of Shorter’s wife. Miles Davis’s wife graced the cover of his Someday My Prince Will Come in 1961.
Wayne Shorter passed away this month, on March 2nd, 2023.
Read the News item about this.
House of Hard Bop – Eric Ineke