With a legendary career spanning over 60 years, Wayne Shorter's influence as both a composer and saxophonist of unbounded imagination has inspired countless artists around the world. On upcoming Blue Engine release The Music of Wayne Shorter, Shorter's playing and composing finally gets the big band backdrop it deserves in the form of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
In the album's liner notes, renowned bassist, bandleader, and Jazz Night in America host Christian McBride reflects on Shorter's unique ability to draw inspiration from unlikely sources:
"There are two stories that come to mind that exemplify the imagination and daring that Wayne Shorter brought to his career as a composer and bandleader. The first was told to me by pianist Renee Rosnes and involves her first rehearsal with Wayne’s group in the late 1980s. As the musicians gathered in Wayne’s rehearsal room, he asked them to first sit and watch the Ridley Scott classic Alien. Midway through the viewing, Wayne got up to pause the tape just as the famous, gory scene of an alien bursting through a human chest unfolded. As most of the band sat squirming in their seats while this bloody creature was frozen on the screen, Wayne pointed at it and said, “THIS… is how I want this band to sound.”
The second story happened in 2002, when I played a performance with Wayne Shorter’s quartet in Den Haag. Upon my arrival, I was quite trepidatious about the gig, as I wasn’t going to have much time to rehearse with the quartet. I called Wayne in his hotel room to let him know I arrived. When I shared my fear of playing with him unrehearsed, Wayne paused and said, “If I remember, you’re a big comedy fan, right? Well, play that. Play me some comedy.” What I learned from Wayne is that, with a strong imagination (and skill), uncharted territory becomes less intimidating… and sometimes quite fun."
The Music of Wayne Shorter is out 1/31 on CD and digital formats. Pre-order it today and read the full liner notes as soon as it's out! (Or stream the first single, "Yes or No".)