- Audio CD (4 Feb. 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: EMI
- ASIN: B00A4OALL0
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,958 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Without A Net
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Jazz great Wayne Shorter recently spoke to the heart of his genre. “The six years I was with Miles (Davis), we never talked about music,” he told National Public Radio in the US. “We never had a rehearsal. How do you rehearse the unknown?”
He’s absolutely right. When done properly, jazz is a boundless medium through which improvisation is allowed to breathe. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Unlike other sonic works, the best jazz lives completely in the moment; its players are given carte blanche to feel the rhythm and see where it takes them.
Shorter’s new album, Without a Net, is full of spontaneity. There’s the random background chatter that layers Flying Down to Rio, and the exasperated “oh my God” on Pegasus, the album’s epic 23-minute centrepiece.
We hear the crowd’s enthusiasm throughout these live songs, and the band’s exuberance when its sound amplifies. These details seem small within the album’s larger context, yet they punctuate the record’s intimate feel.
For almost 80 minutes, the 79-year-old saxophonist controls his quartet while allowing it to explore various melodic terrains. Still, the music remains traditional in its approach and recalls the genre’s golden era. The songs, recorded in Los Angeles and Europe, proceed with an unhinged abandon, yet they never run off course.
So in the truest essence of jazz, Without a Net is a sharp return to the music’s brighter days. Orbits is a repurposed version of the Miles Davis Quintet’s 1967 song of the same name. Shorter played on the original, a sprightly number of quick drum snares and lively piano chords.
Shorter’s version is a bit darker and more methodical: above unsettled piano keys and cascading percussion, he infuses the melody with sporadic horn fills. It all makes for an exceptional recording, the saxophonist’s first since 2005’s Beyond the Sound Barrier.
Here, Shorter is firmly at the helm, yet benevolent enough to play the background when needed. The rhythm has taken him far.
--Marcus J. Moore
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top customer reviews
(9 tracks; 77 minutes:27 seconds. Based strongly on this recording and live performances, seven months after this review, Wayne Shorter and group won top awards in 2013 from the DownBeat International Jazz Critics Poll: Jazz Artist, Soprano Sax, Jazz Group, and Jazz Album.)
Seen him live with this super-band in a large hall ( Jazz festival North Sea jazz in Rotterdam) The place was crowded and a long line in front of the door waiting. That waiting was rewarded when about 5% came out after the first number..GOOD!
Immidiately the place was filled again and everybody stayed in, breathless..
Wayne plays inside himself, hardly any public-contact, but deep concentrated inner and near intuitive playing is coming out. Creating a kind of cupola over his listeners in wich they are gathered in sphere.. Miles could do that, it happened in concerts like the Koln Concert or Scala-concert of Keith Jarrett and it happens with Wayne.
Great fat piano, good band over all, life-recording, Over 76 minutes of sound,a very fantastic experience.
Wayne is on his top here, and alive is where and how he is to be heard.
Second best is here, on this CD.
Personally still think the CD ( from the LP) Sweet Nighter is best in earlier years with that stamping swing and this one clearly showing where he came..; In the field of the full-develloped Top !! Still that very personal tone and the yells coming from his horn..
It is a gift to be able to listen ánd hear this outcome. That hearing, the opened wideness of the ears and mind, enjoying the fields where these sounds bring you, is discovered and opened by concessionless players like Wayne Shorter.
Always the quintessential musician's musician, Shorter remains true to his lifelong principles and emphatically refuses to play safe. `Without a Net' is a collection of the quartet's onstage performances from their recent European and US tours. Each of the nine pieces takes the basic theme of the number and then (usually - but not always - led by Shorter's sax) explores a new musical landscape through lengthy improvisation, the result by turns experimental and inventive, jarringly atonal or melodically sublime. An almost telepathic level of communication exists between these A-list musicians, each at the top of their game and collectively creating possibly the most seminal musical improvisations of our age. Each performance is unique, never-to-be-repeated.
Ambient background dinner party jazz this definitely ain't. What Shorter offers the listener is jazz as high art: imaginative, never afraid to break boundaries, visionary and often delightfully unexpected.
The jewel-case and four-page foldout insert don't exactly make for a premium package, and the simple (though distinctive in an understated way) artwork is unlikely to be destined for `classic design' status either. But this music is deep, profound, courageous, sublime. Press `play', crank up the volume and prepare to be blown away by the sheer virtuosity and inventive brilliance about to assault your ears.
At 77 minutes over nine tracks, recorded in 2013, one of the most quietly eloquent, lingeringly lyrical of musicians plays semi-free jazz with a trio featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and Brian Blade on drums, all of whom complement each other and add their own special grace notes to the session. The results are hypnotic, beguiling, and at times very lovely.
Shorter plays both tenor and soprano saxes, and we get plenty of his uniquely oblique way with the instrument. Some of the track titles are expressive in themselves: Starry Night, Myrrh, Flying Down to Rio, Orbits...or the mighty 23-minute Pegasus, which flies along beautifully, calmly at first then really taking off on dashing wings of confidence and power.
The man is 82 now and still with us - for many more years I hope, and a few more albums this strong, unapologetic and compelling.