Wayne Shorter achieved legendary status in the jazz world long before this 1987 concert. His work with Art Blakey’s mythical Jazz Messengers in the early 60s ended up with him becoming the group’s Musical Director. Later, he joined Miles Davis’ second great quintet and was, according to Herbie Hancock, the only musician who brought music to Miles that “didn’t get changed.” Indeed, it was in jazz fusion that he solidified his reputation, that exploratory, style-blending sound defined in part by Weather Report, the group he co-founded.
This concert at the 1987 Estival Jazz event came just after the final Weather Report album and it is a chance to hear a set made solely from Shorter’s own compositions – he is jazz’ greatest living composer according to The New York Times (2008). The rhythm section is a real standout: Carl James on bass, the future great Terri Lyne Carrington on drums and Marylin Mazur on percussion, who conjures all manner of soundscapes, from sounding like an old industrial factory to an 80s-style spaceship, something echoed by the futuristic synths Jim Beard plays on keys.
It is within this extra terrestrial environment that Shorter expresses himself, probing the mysteries of the space created in an overarching exploration that is constantly fascinating to listen to. He plays tracks from 1985’s Atlantis, 1986’s Phantom Navigation, as well as single pieces from 1967's Adam’s Apple and 2013's Without A Net.