Monday, April 22, 2024

Wayne Shorter, RIP, Founder of Weather Report, Played with Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Famous for “Aja”


The legendary and amazing saxophonist Wayne Shorter has died at age 89. His beautiful sounds are stamped into our culture. from his work with Miles Davis and Art Blakey, to being a founding member of Weather Report. What a rich, mellifluous, trademark sound!

I didn’t know who Wayne Shorter was until 1977, when I turned 20, and Steely Dan released their seminal album, “Aja.” In the middle of that title track, which weighs in at 7 minutes and 52 seconds, comes an instrumental break the likes of which had never been heard in a “pop” record.

I can remember the first time I heard it. It was thrilling. It sent me and a generation of teens who’d grown up on the Beatles, soul, and classic rock back to find everything Wayne Shorter had ever played on. From then on, his place in jazz and rock history was cemented and writ large across the sky.

There are plenty of great obits appearing now, with far deeper insights into Shorter’s jazz work. But here is what I will always remember him for. Thank you, Wayne Shorter.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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