Wayne Shorter

One of America's greatest saxophonists and composers, Wayne Shorter – born in Newark, New Jersey on August 25, 1933 - was among jazz's most renowned figures, admired for his open-minded approach as demonstrated during his spell with the crossover group Weather Report. He took up playing the saxophone in his teens and, after a spell in the US Army, he joined Art Blakey's band in 1959, eventually becoming musical director until Miles Davis persuaded him to join his quintet. Wayne Shorter composed some of his best material with the Davis group, remaining with them for some of his most influential jazz fusion albums including In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. It led to nine solo albums for the Blue Note label - notably Night Dreamer (1964), JuJu (1964), and Speak No Evil (1966) - and a move towards a more free-form jazz approach. In 1970, he formed the jazz fusion group Weather Report with keyboardist Joe Zawinul, making a series of albums that laced jazz with numerous different styles including Latin, funk, and world, before the band's split in 1985. Along the way, Wayne Shorter made memorable contributions to other people's albums including Steely Dan's Aja (1977), ten albums with Joni Mitchell, and the Don Henley hit “The End of Innocence.” Wayne Shorter also toured extensively with Carlos Santana and played his distinctive saxophone on soundtrack to the Harrison Ford movie The Fugitive (1993). In 1997, he got rave reviews for his 1+1 collaboration with Herbie Hancock and continued to achieve great acclaim for his recordings for the Verve label through the 2000s. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in 2013 and the same accolade from the Grammys the year after. Wayne Shorter was given the Guggenheim Fellowship grant for jazz composition in 2016 and was joint winner of the Polar Music Prize in 2017. He toured with Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock under the moniker Mega Nova in 2016 and he released Emanon, his 26th studio album, in 2018. Wayne Shorter won a Grammy Award in 2023 for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for the song “Endangered Species.” On March 2, 2023, less than a month after winning the Grammy Award, Wayne Shorter died at the age of 89.

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