Wayne Shorter
* August 25, 1933
United States
Music group
Wayne Shorter's own background is inextricably linked to the history of modern music. Shorter was born in 1933 in Newark, New Jersey and studied visual art at the Arts High School there, but was attracted to music and began playing the clarinet at the relatively late age of fifteen. "I liked the storytelling role of the clarinet that I heard on compositions like "Scheherezade", Shorter remembers. "It was just glowing with possibility there in the shop window, with its shiny silver keys."

He graduated to the tenor saxophone when he was seventeen, and within a couple years his brilliant playing on the horn had earned him the nickname "The Newark Flash" across the river in Manhattan. He joined up with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1959, and it wasn't long before Shorter began gaining notice as a composer and was promoted to "musical director" of the Messengers.

When Shorter joined the Miles Davis band in 1964, his writing was vital to establishing the sound of that classic quintet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Davis typically reworked the compositions of his sidemen but granted Shorter rare autonomy: "When I wrote stuff Miles would say, 'There's no need to change any of Wayne's music. It's all there.'"

While recording prodigiously as a leader on his own Blue Note dates, Shorter continued to work with Miles. When he followed Miles on his excursions into electric jazz, he adopted the soprano saxophone as a second instrument, winning the best soprano category in DownBeat magazine Readers Poll for seventeen

years. Shorter co-founded Weather Report with Joe Zawinul, and he enlarged his compositional canvas with sprawling fusion works that succeeded commercially as well as artistically-1977's Heavy Weather went gold.

In the '80s and '90s Shorter worked on several soundtracks, and lent his finesse to the pop music of Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, and Carlos Santana, among others. He recorded several solo albums for Columbia Records, and then two Grammy award-winning records for Verve: High Life in 1995, and 1+1, a 1997 duo recording with longtime associate Herbie Hancock.

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