SFJAZZ.org | RIP Wayne Shorter

On The Corner Masthead

Saluting one of the greats:
Wayne SHorter (1933–2023)

March 2, 2023 | by SFJAZZ

Wayne Shorter at SFJAZZ, 4/28/17. (photo by Bill Evans)

All of us at SFJAZZ are deeply saddened to have heard that the legendary saxophonist, composer, and NEA Jazz Master Wayne Shorter has passed today in Los Angeles at the age of 89.

Wayne led a legendary career spanning more than half a century that included monumental memberships in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis’ iconic 1960s quintet, and the fusion supergroup Weather Report, in addition to an incomparable path as a leader.

His classic Blue Note albums from the mid-60s and early 70s, including Night Dreamer, JuJu, Speak No Evil, The All Seeing Eye, and Adam’s Apple, are essential parts of jazz history, and he had memorable collaborations with Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, esperanza spalding, Steely Dan, Carlos Santana, and Milton Nascimento.

Wayne led his longstanding quartet featuring Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, and Brian Blade beginning in 2000, won 11 GRAMMYs, and received the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He was a 2018 recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor, and his most recent albums are the GRAMMY-winning 2018 triple-disc Blue Note release Emanon and an archival 2017 live date from the Detroit Jazz Festival released last year.

Wayne’s Nichiren Buddhist practice was a key to his perseverance and spiritual outlook in life, helping him carry on through the tragedies of losing his daughter Iska to brain damage in 1985 and his wife Ana Maria in the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.

He was a longtime friend of SFJAZZ and was awarded the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award at SFJAZZ Gala 2008.

Health issues prevented him from performing scheduled shows in January 2019, so an all-star roster of jazz greats curated by his friend Herbie Hancock assembled over those four nights to perform his music with proceeds going to Wayne. We broadcast those concerts in 2020 for our Fridays at Five series, raising $140,000 for Wayne’s medical expenses.

Wayne's loss closes the book on a monumental creative life. We will greatly miss him.

Here's Wayne with his quartet including Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, and Terri Lyne Carrington, performing Arthur Penn's "Smilin' Through" at SFJAZZ in April 2017:

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