Wayne Shorter: Five Deep Cuts

On The Corner Masthead


May 19, 2020 | by Ross Eustis

Wayne Shorter

With this week's all-star Fridays at Five streaming concert honoring Wayne Shorter, we take a look back at five deep cuts from saxophone legend Wayne Shorter. Although Shorter started out working and composing for two of the greatest bands in jazz (Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis Quintet), his eclectic body of work (Milton Nascimento, Weather Report, Joni Mitchell, Santana, Imani Winds, etc.) really defies genre. Anything Shorter touches is of the highest quality – and here are five recordings that often fly under the radar.

1. "One By One"

Shorter joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1959, later becoming musical director and principal composer before joining Miles Davis' Quintet in 1964. Shorter's "One By One" (Ugetsu, 1963) stands as one of greatest compositions in the Blakey book.

2. "Et Cetera"

Through the mid-late 60s, many of Shorter's best-known compositions were recorded and performed with Miles Davis' Quintet. Meanwhile, Shorter signed with Blue Note Records and released 11 albums over six years, including Et Cetera (1965).

3. "Sanctuary"

Shorter's saxophone playing is integral to the revolutionary sound of In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. His ballad "Sanctuary" (Bitches Brew, 1969) would be the final composition Shorter recorded with Miles Davis.

4. "Beauty And The Beast"

In the 70s, Shorter bridged the funky sounds and styles of Weather Report (of which Shorter was a founding member) with genius Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento on Native Dancer (Columbia Records, 1974).

5. "Aung San Suu Kyi"

Before assembling his longstanding quartet (with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade), Shorter teamed up with longtime collaborator Herbie Hancock for the introspective duet album 1+1 (Verve, 1997), with composition "Aung San Suu Kyi," named after the renowned Burmese activist.


(originally posted on November 18, 2015)