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Speak No Evil Import
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Top Customer Reviews
Shorter had been playing with Coltrane in the late 50's but his style ended up more melodic as can be heard on the opener 'Witch Hunt', which sounds like the basis of his work with Weather Report in the 70's. Hubbard plays an ode to the past as Hancock arrives with a mellow swing. By the end of the track Shorter and Hubbard are beginning to sound like a full orchestra. 'Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum' has all the smokey charm of a bluesy barroom band much like Hancock's piano on 'Dance Cadaverous'. A track with a smouldering melody, Hubbard and Shorter play in unison, each with an ear for it's seemingly spontaneous development as it builds to a mid-track crescendo. On the title track itself, Hancock's playing is infectious and infused with feeling. Jones lets loose on Shorter's first solo before Hubbard takes over with his energetic and melodic playing. More beautiful and airy sax on 'Infant Eyes' before we get Shorter's introverted solo on 'Wild Flower' followed by Hubbard's loud and engaging one. Hancock is again amazing against Jones's drumming.
Shorter was extraordinarily lucky to have these players at the peak of their powers.
There is beauty and joy to this album that comes from Shorter himself. He has a far less serious and intense style than John Coltrane, whom comparisons are inevitably drawn with, which makes his work far less effort to listen to. The other collaborators are more than competant in their perfomances as well with the expert touch of Herbie Hancock on the piano and the bewitching tones of Freddie Hubbard on trumpet blending well.
For me this is one of the classic jazz albums, and it proves the lack of justice in the world when John Coltrane is remembered more fondly by the public than the master behind this work.
The compositions themselves are wondrous, opening with "Witch Hunt", an interesting piece with a separate intro that moves straight into the main theme. It is a haunting blues with great solos from Shorter and Hubbard, driven along by Jones' fiery beat. "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" is another tune which has become a jazz standard. Hancock mimics the giant's chanting of Fee Fi Fo Fum with dissonant chords at the beginning which precedes a typically quirky and playful theme over an unusual blues progression. One might that the theme represents Jack carefully tiptoeing around, trying to avoid the giant at all costs! "Dance Cadaverous" is an interesting take on "Valse Triste" by Sibelius and it is an effective example of a classical progression being adapted for jazz. The title's association with the grislier side of life is well preserved by eerie solos by the two horns. The title track stands out due to the challenging, unsettling solos. The haunting ballad "Infant Eyes" follows. The album finishes with "Wild Flower", a signature Wayne Shorter tune which is an up-tempo waltz, featuring spirited playing from the whole ensemble.
Freddie Hubbard, Hancock and bassist Ron Carter are common to both albums, but we have the energetic, not to mention ubiquitous, Elvin Jones (1927-2004) in the drum seat on this date, and he propels each track along in his usual pugilistic way, bless the man.
Hubbard (1938-2010) was something of a stalwart in those days, and he plays like a dream on these six tracks - with one extra alternate take. So does Hancock (still with us at 71) whose impressionistic, lucent piano is a constant joy to hear whenever he takes a solo, which is pleasingly often, not to mention his sensitive, gently buoyant accompaniment throughout.
Shorter himself - not always a tenor whose playing is easy to `grasp`, with an elusive, hermetic style at times - plays quite beautifully here, a highlight being his lengthy solo on Infant Eyes, a lovely ballad by the sax player. Indeed all the tracks are Shorter originals. Sometimes compared to Coltrane, I`d say Shorter has a slightly more rounded tone, is more obviously lyrical, equally unsentimental, less frenetic on the faster numbers. But why compare...?
The more I listen to this very fine disc, the fewer `highlights` there are, as all the tracks are perfect in their ways.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1964 was a seminal year for the music of Wayne Shorter. Not only was he transitioning from working with Art Blakey to becoming a key member of Miles Davis’ great 1960s quintet,... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Keith M
My first Wayne Shorter album, having previously come across him with Miles Davis. A great album indeed.Published 1 month ago by PLJ Watford
Wayne Shorter at the top of his game as are all the musicians on this set.Published 1 month ago by C. J. T.
What to say? it is a classic! Every jazz lover should have it. I am never tired to listen to this.Published 5 months ago by Loris
In recent years I have been drawn to jazz from the 1950s and 1960s. This release fits in nicely with my collection and has prompted me to search out other WS material.Published 12 months ago by Jonault