While some may choose to argue about Wayne Shorter's impact on jazz and whether he has had more of an impact as a composer or saxophonist, the one thing that is indisputable is that he has been and continues to be one of jazz's leading figures.
Digressing for a moment to review Shorter's distinguished bio turns up some interesting history. Shorter started on the clarinet at 16 but quickly switched to tenor sax. Within just a few years after graduating from New York University in the early 50's, he had already begun creating his long and distinguished list of people he had played with including Horace Silver, and the Maynard Ferguson band.
By 1959 Shorter had joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, where he remained until 1963, eventually becoming the band's music director. Someplace along the way Shorter met Miles Davis who convinced Shorter to join the Miles Davis Quintet in 1964.
Over the course of the next six years Shorter composed some of what today are considered example of jazz classics including "E.S.P.," "Pinocchio," "Nefertiti," "Sanctuary," "Footprints," "Fall" and "Prince of Darkness." Along with his prolific composing during this time he also took up the soprano sax.
In November 1970, Shorter along with Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous formed Weather Report. Shorter stayed with the group until 1985. Life after Weather Report began with Wayne recording three albums with Columbia during 1986-88. After 1988 Shorter was quiet until 1995 when he recorded High Life, a collaboration album with keyboardist Rachel Z. He also toured with Carlos Santana's Latin jazz-rock alumni band in 1988 and with the Miles tribute band, Wallace Roney and the V.S.O.P. rhythm section in 1992.
So that brings us to 2002, and Shorter's most recent release. Footprints-live is the saxophone legend's first live album ever and his first all acoustic album as leader since 1968. Stemming from a 2001 tour, Footprints features pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade.
These four great musicians work through some great compositions like "Go," "JuJu," and "Footprints." One of my favorite compositions on the CD is "Valse Triste," from Shorter's 1965's The Soothsayer. Shorter also has included material from later years including Atlantis, Aung San Suu Kyi, Sanctuary, and Masqualero.
Here is the listing of the cuts on the CD, along with their original release dates.
Sanctuary: Recorded twice by Miles: in 1968 (an acoustic version not originally issued) and on Britches Brew in 1969.
Masquelero: First recorded on Miles Davis's Sorcerer, 1967
Valse Triste: first heard on Shorter's 1965 release The Soothsayer
Go: from Shorter's Schizophrenia 1967
Aung San Suu Kyi: from 1997's 1+1 recorded with Herbie Hancock
Footprints: appeared on the 1996 releases of both Shorter's (Adams Apple) and Miles' (Miles Smiles.)
JuJu is the title track from Shorter's 1964 Blue Note album
Wayne Shorter's "Footprints-Live" a CD that Shorter fans and jazz aficionados should make sure that they have in their collection. Check it out!