(I also posted this same review in the Wayne Shorter "Without a Net" reviews) Blue Note pulled a major coup when they issued these two albums. It was a one-two punch that knocked me out. I've been lying on the canvas with little Xs for eyes this past week ever since I got these CDs.
I'm not even going to presume to critique these artists, I am just going to give you some random thoughts on the fly. Wayne and Joe belong to a category of artists that started out creating inside the box but have learned how to transcend it. Other artists over the decades of jazz have pushed at the walls of the box, or stuck their head out for a minute, or jumped out and ran around naked and flipped us the bird, and many others have escaped the box only to turn around and spend all their time kicking and abusing the box. All this has lead to the box expanding to include all the innovations that have come around over the years. That is what jazz has always been about, stretching those limits, even though there are purists who have to have fences to feel comfortable and safe. Wayne's career especially, and just the way he plays and talks, shows that he will be nobody's tamed entertainer.
Wayne and Joe, are artists that have come to be so comfortable inside or outside the box, that they move in and out effortlessly. They are ghosts for whom the walls of the box mean nothing. They are Holy Ghosts who, frankly I don't think even know the box is there.