It's hard to overstate Wayne Shorter's influence as a saxophonist and composer -- he has rightfully earned a place as a jazz legend. His tenor playing draws on the enhanced Bebop virtuosity of John Coltrane, minus the brittle edge; Shorter's playing has such a flowing feel that he almost seems to be composing heads to a tune in real-time when he improvises. He was groomed to be perfect in any setting. As a featured soloist and music director in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, he mastered the raw, bluesy feel of Hard Bop, moving on to Post Bop in 1964 after joining Miles Davis's influential late '60s quintet. He then helped to pioneer jazz-rock Fusion when he formed Weather Report in 1970. Many of his songs are required learning for aspiring jazz musicians, such as the bluesy "Footprints." But it doesn't take a musician to understand the expansive beauty of a ballad like "Fall." Both songs exhibit his innovations: with one foot in the blues, Shorter expanded the scope of a jazz composition and added complexity to its chords -- but he did it with such melodic perfection that he didn't leave listeners behind, as many of his contemporaries in the '60s did.
Wayne Shorter Concert Films
Live at Montreux 1996
Runtime: 56 minWayne Shorter is one of the most significant jazz performers of modern times. He performed as part of Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers and then Miles Davis band in the sixties before co-founding Weather Report with Joe Zawinul in the early seventies. This Montreux concert from 1996 features the Wayne Shorter Quintet and followed on from the release of his Grammy Award winning album High Life.
Wayne Shorter Top Tracks
Notes from a Jazz Survivor
Runtime: 49 minAn intensely personal and sometimes painful look into the fascinating world of Art Pepper. One of Jazz' greatest alto saxophonists and most expressive soloists, Pepper was also a thief, drug addict, alcoholic, womanizer, and world renown wildman. In candid interviews he recounts his triumphs, troubles, and luck in meeting Laurie, his last wife. For half the film Pepper leads a trio in a Malibu nightclub, the set includes: "Red Car", "Patricia", and "Miss Who?".
Runtime: 52 minThe Jazz Sessions spotlights Andrew Hill, a great and even groundbreaking composer and pianist. While many of his contemporaries were totally jettisoning the rhythmic and harmonic techniques of bop and hard bop, Hill worked to extend their possibilities; his was a revolution from within. He exhibited a determined command of his materials, however abstract they might sometimes be. His composed melodies were labyrinthine, rhythmically and harmonically complex tunes that exhibit a sophistication born of mastery, not chance or contingency.
Triumph of the Underdog
Runtime: 1 hr 18 minDon McGlynn's uncompromising and soulful documentary look at the tumultuous life of musician and rebel Charles Mingus is simply fascinating. Mingus said of himself "I am half black man, half yellow man, but I claim to be a Negro. I am Charles Mingus, the famed jazz musician--but not famed enough to make a living in America." His statement summed up the conflict that plagued this musical genius his entire life: volatility, pain, prescience, and raw rage roiled inside a complex man, composer, bass player, and trombonist who transcended labels and refused to be pigeonholed into a single musical style--and who did not achieve real fame until late in his career. The documentary is full of well-preserved footage and contains interviews with many Mingus followers like Wynton Marsalis as well as performances by icons Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan. The film traverses past the musical legend with insight and information into Mingus's personal life, his civil rights activism, and his final triumph in the music world--just as his body began to deteriorate from Lou Gehrig's disease--to his eventual death in 1979. Mingus left a legacy composed of genius, vulnerability, brilliance, anarchy, and, as one friend noted, "the entire range of human emotion that is reflected in his music.
Live in Munich
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minFor more than 50 years, trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis was a major innovator of cool, modal, avant-garde, and fusion jazz styles. This program captures Davis's band: alto saxophonist/flutist Kenny Garrett, Keyboardists Robert Irving III and Adam Holzmann, lead bassist Joseph "Foley" McCreary, and bassist Benjamin Rietveld, percussionist Marilyn Mazur, and drummer Ricky Wellman, live in Munich, Germany on July 10th, 1988. With these musicians' sympathetic and syncopated support, Davis's trademarked Harmon-muted trumpet tones dance and trance over the combo's supple electric swing. Throughout the concert, Davis glides across the stage with the elegance and power of a dancer and a fighter, huddling with his sidemen to play and share a phrase. Interview snippets with Davis feature the trumpeter frankly discussing his other passion, artwork. All told, Miles in Munich shows that the man called "Prince of Darkness" was full of artistic light near the end of his creative life.