For anyone looking for their first exposure to the music of Wayne Shorter, they couldn't do better than this album. The memorable, clever, yet affecting compositions of Shorter, and the presence of the wonderful Freddie Hubbard make this 1964 Blue Note Set one of his very best. With Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Elvin Jones in the rhythm section, all angles are covered, and the album contains no weak moments.
wonderful tunes and harmonies. these tunes and the associated improvisation still sound fresh today. I had the LP 40 years ago, and have played most of these songs on gigs many times, but it was still a pleasant wake-up call to hear the original once more. Just phenomenal.
I totally agree with our friend from Limerick. This is one of the truly great albums, no weak track. Each of the musicians involved was a peerless master of his craft. Those still alive remain so. Every jazz fan should have this record and share its majesty with their friends.
Strange to think that Wayne Shorter, at 77, is now an elder statesman of jazz. I tend to think of him as much younger than Miles, Coltrane and the other movers & shakers of the 50s & 60s, but in fact he was only a smattering of years younger. Recorded when he was 31, he assembled a dream team for this landmark record which, like pianist Herbie Hancock`s Maiden Voyage from the same year, I`ve found to be a `grower`, uncovering its beauties and felicities with each listen. 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. I said a dream team, and all five musicians do indeed play like a dream, Hubbard`s trumpet rarely sounding so apposite, Jones finding colours all over the place - he could occasionally be a touch intrusive, but his drumming is so inquiringly inventive that one is grateful for such intimate involvement with the themes he`s given to work with. I was delighted to read that both Shorter and Hancock are Buddhists. It`s tempting to see their give-and-take as symptomatic of their chosen way, but I wouldn`t press the point. One of those many Blue Notes from the era that only grows and glows brighter with every passing year. Beautiful.