From the Star-Ledger
Saxophonist Wayne Shorter still searching for new sounds
By Alex W. Rodriguez
As an iconoclastic Newark teen, Wayne Shorter became infatuated with the sounds of bebop and formed a band called the Group — modeled after Dizzy Gillespie’s successful big band — with some of his friends.
“We didn’t do this to become outstanding virtuosos,” says Shorter, now 77 and living in West Hollywood, Calif. Instead, it was about “doing what you want to do –— and it happens to be something called bebop. You’re doing what you want to do, not what you’re told to do.”
In the six decades since he formed his initial group, he has steadfastly honored bebop’s nonconformist bent, stretching the harmonic and stylistic boundaries of jazz beyond even what his bebop idols imagined possible. Working with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the Miles Davis Quintet and Weather Report, and making his own historic records for Blue Note in the 1960s, he has left one of the largest footprints on the jazz world of any musician alive today.
But the tenor saxophonist chooses not to rest on his reputation. In 2001, he recruited three young musicians to embark upon a process he calls “de-composing.” Rather than compose complex new material, Shorter relies on his bandmates to reinterpret and reinvent his vast body of work, conjuring new sounds with every performance.
“We’ve been performing without rehearsing,” says Shorter. “Unless you de-compose it these days, you can’t make new portals and doorways available.”
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