You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

Student arrested after bomb threat on North Hall Middle campus

Shorter plays jazz as it has always and never been


At 80 years old, saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter is a living window into the growth, transformation and rebirth of modern jazz.

Shorter will perform with his longstanding quartet at the Rialto Center for the Arts on Saturday, and listeners can expect a recapitulation of that history, though Shorter himself says he doesn’t know what to expect.

The freewheeling musician, known for his fanciful interview style, said his band will hit the stage not in their “Sunday suits” but “Nekkid. Throw away all your awards, your Grammys, put that stuff in the closet: OK, here we go into the wild blue yonder.”

In short, his band goes on stage “Without a Net,” the name of the 2013 album featuring the quartet, including pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade. The title suggests the high-wire creativity of the improvising artist, performing without the safety of a set list.

Shorter has walked that wire for more than 60 years. As a teenager in Newark, N.J., he championed bebop while the popular dance bands were playing rhythm and blues.

With trumpeter Lee Morgan, he served in the front line of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He befriended and practiced with John Coltrane, then took Coltrane’s place in Miles Davis’ so-called “second quintet” of 1964-68, which some see as both the high point and swan song of straight-ahead jazz.

Davis telegraphed a switch to electric jazz in “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew,” and Shorter played on both albums. Then, with Josef Zawinul, another Davis alumni, he co-founded Weather Report, perhaps the most successful jazz/rock/funk/fusion hybrid of the era.

Shorter graduated from NYU with a degree in music, and his tunes, including “Footprints” and “Nefertiti,” provided much of the repertoire for the Davis quintet and for Weather Report. His serpentine melodies and unpredictable chord changes continue to engage jazz players.

A new generation of musicians is now championing Shorter’s music, including phenomenal bassist Esperanza Spalding, who, in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, called on the music world to commission large works from her hero.

Speaking from a tour stop in San Francisco, Shorter discussed the insights of his 80 years, the benefits of keeping a low profile, and the ultimate goal of Nichiren Buddhism, which he has practiced since 1973.

On being part of groups led by strong individuals such as Miles Davis and Josef Zawinul, both of whom command center stage:

“There’s the conspicuous and the inconspicuous, and sometimes a function that is served has no titles.”

On the difficulty of finding commissions for writing projects:

“Papa Haydn had a prince to finance his things. That was then. This is now.”

On the purpose of Buddhism:

“We have to take fear and make petrol out of it. We have to turn poison into medicine. Which is a struggle.”

On taking responsibility for his own enlightenment:

“Instead of looking for the magic wand of an omnipotent maker to help you to do your homework better, why don’t you use the brains your maker gave you?”

On what draws his audiences:

“I think they want to see the 80-year-old man — quick! Before he melts!”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Dreams of living in Camelot? Check out this $2.3 million medieval home in Texas
Dreams of living in Camelot? Check out this $2.3 million medieval home in Texas

Want a home fit for a king? It looks unassuming from the outside, but this five-bedroom, four-bathroom home in Shady Hollow Estateshas a custom stained glass and a “knight’s retreat” complete with ceiling paintings telling the knight’s story. If you’ve ever wished you could live in a Renaissance fair year-round and...
‘DWTS’ pro Cheryl Burke replaces Abby Lee Miller on ‘Dance Moms’
‘DWTS’ pro Cheryl Burke replaces Abby Lee Miller on ‘Dance Moms’

“Dance Moms” instructor Abbey Lee Miller blindsided fans when she announced she was quitting the Lifetime reality TV show Monday, but the network is moving on fast. According to Entertainment Tonight, “Dancing with the Stars” pro Cheryl Burke will be on board with the show for the rest of the season. “It's a go with...
Snoop Dogg will perform in Augusta during Masters Week

  Rapper Snoop Dogg, who generated headlines and a presidential Twitter tiff with his recently released video showing him shooting a fake gun at a clown character dressed as President Donald Trump, will perform in Augusta next week as The Masters gets underway. Full details are below. PAST COVERAGE: Snoop’s controversial new video Trump...
Radio briefs: Lew Dickey leaves Cumulus; WIGO wins a Stellar; Praise fundraiser; top Atlanta song

This was posted by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog on Thursday, March 23, 2017 Lew Dickey has stepped off the board of Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, the company he started nearly 20 years ago. His reason: “to pursue other professional interests.” His 18-month non-compete clause has expired since he lost his CEO and board chairman...
50 things to know if you haven't done your taxes yet
50 things to know if you haven't done your taxes yet

You’re motivated by a deadline, you’re busy, you’re still getting organized — whatever the reason, you haven’t filed your taxes yet. That’s not a huge deal (there’s a deadline for a reason), but still, waiting until the last minute to file your taxes means you might be rushed. And that means there&rsquo...
More Stories