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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions Sélectionné par Ecoutez Voir
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Super Nova is an important transitional album for tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Doubling on soprano (which he had recently begun playing), Shorter interprets five of his originals (including "Water Babies," which had been recorded previously by Miles Davis) and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi." He definitely used a forward-looking group of sidemen, because his "backup band" includes guitarists John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock, Walter Booker (normally a bassist) on classical guitar for "Dindi," bassist Miroslav Vitous, both Jack DeJohnette and Chick Corea (!) on drums, and percussionist Airto; Maria Booker takes a vocal on the touching version of "Dindi." The influence of Miles Davis' early fusion period is felt throughout the music, but there is nothing derivative about the often-surprising results. As with Wayne Shorter's best albums, this set rewards repeated listenings. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 25, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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For decades, composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter has led one of the more impressive quartets in jazz. With pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade, the 85-year-old saxophonist has explored the connections between chamber music and jazz. This band rehearses on-stage, creating innovative architectures via in-the-moment dialogue and improvising with unbridled freedom that never gives way to excess. Emanon is their first recording in five years and conceptual in nature. It comprises a four-part suite in a studio date from 2013 with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, and two 2016 live discs of the quartet playing the Emanon material with other tunes. It's packaged in an oversize hardbound book that contains a 36-page graphic novel that Shorter co-wrote with Monica Sly and illustrator Randy DeBurke. It follows the exploits of its "rogue philosopher"/warrior/protagonist namesake ("no name" spelled backwards, from a Dizzy Gillespie tune). He fights bad guys in the multiverse, a concept that shares principles with the Buddhist notion of emptiness, allowing for an infinite number of simultaneously existing universes that Emanon travels effortlessly between. Disc one begins with piano and soprano sax probing the suggestion of melody, but really it's the pianist offering Shorter a chance for dialogic thought. Orchestral brass, strings, and the rhythm section enter minutes later and create melody from rhythm and vice-versa. The full orchestra's colorful voicings introduce "Prometheus Unbound" with a majestic grandeur balanced by the quartet's subtler interventions. "Lotus" commences as a full-on orchestral thematic statement answered by a recurrent three-note piano ostinato that's countered by free blowing from Perez and Shorter. They are barely held in check by the fluid pulse from Blade and Patitucci. The chamber group's bold yet lush restatement later in the piece frames the quartet's interrogatory investigation of blues. "The Three Marias," whose origins date back to 1985's Atlantis, is rendered completely anew with Bernstein-esque orchestral flourishes and a sweeping theme. Shorter plays soprano and tenor with equal vigor. The quartet emerges to take over with speculative and assertive conversation until the last third, where the orchestra returns with tempi, texture, and dynamic changes ushering in a sweeping conclusion. The two live discs begin with a radically revisioned 27-minute version of "The Three Marias," where the group's close listening and instinctive risk-taking chart the unknown amid post-bop, modal jazz, and free improv. The medley of "Lost" and "Orbits" is edgier, traversing out jazz one moment and swinging grooves the next as Perez provides a wide palette for his bandmates to color. The final disc opens and closes with kaleidoscopic quartet versions of "Lotus" and "Prometheus Unbound," with stops at the traditional "She Moves Through the Fair" (unrecognizable from their 2003 version) and a short, blistering "Adventures Aboard the Golden Mean" that goes from 0-60 instantly in a bluesy workout led by Shorter's soprano, followed by Perez's Latin montunos and vamps given a heavy bottom by the rhythm section. While Emanon's suite may take some getting used to, it is a profoundly imaginative work; the quartet concert offers a killer portrait a group whose M.O. is pushing at the margins until they give way to something altogether new. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Verve

With 2002's Footprints Live, nearly two decades of false alarms about a Wayne Shorter "comeback" finally gave way to the real thing -- at least to many critics who welcomed his return to highly cerebral acoustic post-bop. Yet the follow-up, Alegria -- apparently Shorter's first all-acoustic studio album as a leader since 1967 -- is where Shorter really starts to get creative again. The rhythm section from Footprints Live -- pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade -- is intact on three tracks. On others, Brad Mehldau -- with his very different conception of sound -- is the pianist, Terri Lyne Carrington subs on drums, Alex Acuna adds percussion, and new, unusual timbres are supplied by a wind/brass ensemble. As on Footprints Live, Shorter revisits some old tunes from his relative youth, but not nearly in the same way. In "Orbits," which was given a racetrack post-bop run by the Miles Davis Quintet, Shorter slows it way, way down, virtually decontructing the tune, backed by a quizzical chart for winds and brass. Likewise, "Angola" and "Capricorn II" are altered nearly beyond recognition. Indeed, at this point in the 21st century, it was fascinating to see both Shorter and his former Davis bandmate, Herbie Hancock, radically reinterpreting their past, working separately yet often using the same bassist and drummer (Patitucci and Blade) and recording for the same label. Yet, the core message of this album is that Shorter was ready to move on to different things, drawing material from almost anything that caught his attention while soloing in top form on tenor and soprano saxes. With a wild soprano wail, Shorter leads off the CD with his new, absorbing boogaloo "Sacajawea," one that soon morphs into searching, nearly free jazz, with a magisterial solo from the composer. At last, someone in jazz chose to deal with both tunes from Leroy Anderson's Spanish-flavored light classical masterpiece "Serenata" rather than just the lush second subject -- and Shorter decorates them with a complex featherweight orchestration. Though Acuna's bongos pop away in the foreground, Shorter does maintain the melancholy feeling of the familiar aria from Villa-Lobos' "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5," with cellist Charles Curtis eloquently stating the tune, until he destabilizes things in the middle of the track. As he approached his 70th birthday, this disc seemed to confirm a long-awaited creative Indian summer for Wayne Shorter. ~ Richard S. Ginell