Stormy Mondays | Happy 80th Birthday Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter is celebrating his 80th birthday this month. Eighty years of amazing, groundbreaking music throughout so many eras of jazz, from his work with Art Blakey to Miles’ Quintet to the fusion era to Weather Report to the groove resurgence of the ’90s to his absolutely phenomenal Quartet of the past 13 years, the greatest improvisational band on the planet.

His career is too much to cover, too much to digest or try to make sense of, so instead we’re going to mark his milestone by simply enjoying his music with a complete show from 2007. If you’re unfamiliar with the Quartet, featuring John Patitucci on bass, Danilo Perez on piano and Brian Blade on drums (all groundbreaking musicians on their own), it’s an acoustic ensemble that has long since moved beyond playing songs to create long, free-form yet melodic, spontaneous soundtracks. A theme or coda may percolate through here or there, a structure may be established to conclude a set, but each performance is truly improvised, unique to a degree that rock bands could never imagine.

This show from Switzerland is an all time favorite of mine, a stunning and dramatic performance in three movements that together stretch over an hour. Take the time to listen to it all in one sitting. Then raise a glass to one of the greatest musical minds of the past hundred years, and as always, enjoy!


Written By: Dan Alford