Live Review: Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter (w/ Imani Winds)
Carnegie Hall
Dec. 2, 2008
By David Chiu

While billed as a ‘75th birthday celebration,’ the concert starring jazz great Wayne Shorter was more about the present than about the past.First the show was not a ‘pat-on-the back’ for Shorter achieving this milestone in his life: there were no special guest stars from Shorter’s illustrious musical history. Second the concert was also about collaboration, which was certainly the case when he shared the Carnegie Hall stage with the very talented wind quintet Imani Winds along with his own great quartet of young players.

The occasion (Shorter had already turned 75 this past August) marked the debut of Shorter’s recent piece ‘Terra Incognita,’ which was commissioned and performed by Imani Winds earlier in the program. A reminder of Shorter’s contribution to jazz-fusion dating back from his time in Weather Report, ‘Terra Incognita’ marked an unlikely combination of jazz and classical music; yet it also contained some of the recognizable elements of Shorter’s previous compositions.

After Imani Winds finished, Shorter and his band came onstage for their own set. The band leader’s tenor and soprano sax playing showcased both his distinctive forceful and lyrical style, complemented and answered by the tremendous accompaniment from his group: Danilo Perez’s graceful yet complex piano, John Patitucci’s penetrating bass, and (especially) Brian Blade’s bombastic but precise drumming. Then the band joined forces with Imani Winds for the show’s conclusion that included a performance of “Pegasus” that again showcased ‘jazz-meets-classical.’ As for Shorter, age and time has not diminished his skills as both player and composer at this show.

Set list:

I. Imani Winds:
“Quintette en forme de choros”
“Terra Incognita”

II. Wayne Shorter Quartet:
“Zero Gravity/Sanctuary”
“Over Shadow Hill Way”
“Joy Ryder”
“Myr”

III. Wayne Shorter Quartet and Imani Winds:
“The Three Marias”
“Pegasus”
“Prometheus Unbound”

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