5 Star Guardian UK review by John Fordham
The Wayne Shorter quartet (with pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade) formed in 2000. Though many now regard them as the best small jazz ensemble in the world and they tour most years, this is only their third album – and all three are live.
Shorter, 80 this year, returns to Blue Note, the scene of many of his 1960s triumphs. There are eight quartet tracks from a European tour (six new) plus a 23-minute piece augmented by the woodwind and brass ensemble Imani Winds. Orbits (from Miles Davis's Miles Smiles) sets the tone, as Shorter's soprano sax lines arrive over a sinister piano hook, duck in and out of intensifying free swing, and playfully echo Perez's piano figures.
SS Golden Mean has Shorter quoting Dizzy Gillespie's Manteca, and Pegasus shifts from an opening motif like an old Mahavishnu Orchestra hook, through a sequence of shifting melodies and and breathtaking improvising. Flying Down to Rio – a quirky choice that works – finds the leader in more placid mood, blithely caressing the melody while the others stretch and pull away from it. Without a Net is free to bursting point, but it's a triumph.
The legendary jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter will make his triumphant return to Blue Note Records after 43 years with the February 5, 2013 release of Without A Net, his searing new album with his long-running Quartet featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade. Shorter has revealed the album cover artwork for Without A Net, which features drawings by Shorter himself.
Shorter—who will be entering his 80th year in 2013—first recorded for Blue Note in 1959 as the precocious 26-year-old tenor saxophonist (and prolific composer) in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, which brought him to the attention of label founder Alfred Lion who eventually signed him to his own recording deal. Shorter went on to make a spectacular run of classic albums for Blue Note between 1964-1970 including Night Dreamer, Juju, Speak No Evil, Adam’s Apple, Schizophrenia, and Super Nova during a period of time that also paralleled Shorter’s years with Miles Davis, first as a member of the trumpeter’s trailblazing quintet, and later as a part of Davis’ early fusion masterpieces.
Without A Net is a 9-track musical thrill ride that consists of live recordings from the Wayne Shorter Quartet’s European tour in late 2011, the one exception being the 23-minute tone poem “Pegasus” which features the quartet with The Imani Winds recorded at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The album features six new Shorter compositions, as well as new versions of his tunes “Orbits” (from Miles Davis’ Miles Smiles album) and “Plaza Real” (from the Weather Report album Procession). The quartet also reinvents the title song from the 1933 musical film Flying Down To Rio, which film buffs (such as Shorter) know as the first on-screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
|Brand||Blue Note Records|
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