Wayne Shorter: Beginnings

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COMPOSERS: Wayne Shorter
LABELS: Properbox
ALBUM TITLE: Wayne Shorter: Beginnings
WORKS: Beginnings
PERFORMER: Wayne Shorter (sax), Lee Morgan (trumpet), Art Blakey (drums) etc
CATALOGUE NO: PROPERBOX178

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The considerable artistic, critical and commercial success of Shorter’s time with Miles Davis (1964-70) and Weather Report (1970-85) has tended to obscure the achievements and evolutionary interest of his stint with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Most of his recorded work with Blakey provides the bulk of this set, a fascinating survey of his development from an August 1959 session with the great Wynton Kelly’s quintet to an October 1962 Messengers recording.

Throughout this period Shorter wore his influences on his sleeve. In the earliest sessions, shortcomings in his technique emphasised the gulf separating him from his idols but, by 1960, recordings made with The Young Lions (April) and Art Blakey (August) showed how fast he was improving as an improviser. Blakey was a great nurturer of young talent, and gave Shorter ample scope to demonstrate his abilities as an individualistic composer as well as an increasingly fluent and inventive player.

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Barry Witherden