Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby hookfinger » 11 Sep 2011, 05:16

I like some of those records a whole lot more than others.
Image
Recorded in 60 but not released until '74 by VeeJay. Not as good as what was soon to appear but interesting none the less.

Shorter, Cedar Walton, Bob Cranshaw, Art Blakey
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 11 Sep 2011, 20:51

The first albums I bought by him were Speak No Evil, Adam's Apple and JuJu and I still come back to them a lot but after I had those for quite some time I bought Schizophrenia, The All Seeing Eye and Et-Cetera which are more dense and even exotic than those other three. I still have not completely digested those last three. Later I noticed I missed The Soothsayer which I think Andrew Lou Goldman (that's a great name btw) mentioned on the board more than once and then NIght which someone else was trumpeting, it might have been you Balboa. It's after these albums that I start to feel less interested in his music. Sometimes it because of the sheer density and complexity of his music. His composing and arranging skills are on another plane compared to many jazz musicians and I think that's where he can lose me at times.
I'm now reminded that he was playing near by with his latest quartet. I need to find out if there are still tickets.

For anyone interested there is a good bio on him that I recently finished, Footprints by Nichelle Mercer. It goes into a lot about his music as would imagine and it's well written as biographies go.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby fange » 12 Sep 2011, 10:23

hookfinger wrote:I like some of those records a whole lot more than others.
Image
Recorded in 60 but not released until '74 by VeeJay. Not as good as what was soon to appear but interesting none the less.

Shorter, Cedar Walton, Bob Cranshaw, Art Blakey


With that line-up that record's practically a Jazz Messengers session, just without a second horn. As you say though hook, it's fun and interesting without being great, which for me pretty much goes for a lot of Shorter's tunes before '63.


Six String wrote:For anyone interested there is a good bio on him that I recently finished, Footprints by Nichelle Mercer. It goes into a lot about his music as would imagine and it's well written as biographies go.


Hey, nice one. That's going on the shopping list.


NP here too...
Uncle Spellbinder wrote:Image


I've been coming back to this one a lot recently, not only 'cause it's one of my latest Shorter purchases but because it shows so many sides of Shorter's songwriting talents by the second half of the 60s, hence the title.

After the sheer funky brilliance of Tom Thumb, you get the meditative and carefully arranged Go, the adventurous hard bop of the title track, the challenging post bop of James Spaulding's Kryptonite (his flute playing, as always, is a real highlight of the album), the tender and beautiful balladry of Miyako and the head-for-the-edges explorations of Playground.

All killer, no filler.
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 12 Sep 2011, 18:26

Good seats are still available for his concert in a few weeks so it looks like I'm going. :D

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Balboa » 18 Sep 2011, 20:47

Image

So I’ll kick off here with ‘Night Dreamer’. I didn’t pick this one up for a while, and when I did, I left it unplayed for months - sometimes you just get so many albums that the thought of listening to another Wayne Shorter album seemed unneccesary. Not for the first time, I was wrong. The band is great, the writing is varied and interesting, and the whole things hangs together really well.

The album kicks off with the title track - actually with McCoy Tyner tinkling at the piano - then the band kicks in with that ¾ groove. Shorter calls the sound ‘floating’ in the liner notes and also likens it to the evening or night, as per the album title - I agree. The whole thing dances along on Tyner’s piano and Elvin Jones’ skittering drum track. Shorter’s solos are restrained (he threatens to bust out with his second solo, but keeps it all clean!), Lee Morgan’s similar - both players playing in the groove - Tyner comps himself whilst soloing, and keeps the whole mood of the piece together. As an aside, I love the way Tyner comps on the piano - he varies the phrases all the times, playing different measures of different things. The whole track is built on a simple 4 chord loop (it lilts between maj and minor chords, and descends downwards), but Tyner keeps it sounding fresh right the way through.

Next up we have ‘Oriental Folk Song’ which is one of my favourite things on the album. Its something Shorter has rearranged, and I am not familiar with the original piece of music. Morgan plays a really nice solo on this one - full of pushing and pulling. And the whole thing seems to exist on a couple of chords (outside of the head). Well, I like it!

‘Virgo’ is next - a ballad in that classic Shorter mould (he sounds a lot like Coltrane on ballads I think). I like his playing when he slows it down and blows - he has a real feel for chord changes that work (although this one does veer kinda close to ‘Infant Eyes’ territory, but that’s a cracker, so no harm done). They strip down to a quartet on this, Morgan sits it out, but the rhythm section play together like old friends. I know some people think BN had these blowing sessions, but I don’t see it that way at all; these guys really had a feel for playing together and you can hear it. Anyway, it takes its time and revolves around some changes, but it sounds lovely and sometimes that’s all that matters. And the bit at the end where Shorter takes it on his own is kinda cool too.

‘Black Nile’ has the full band back and is a jaunty mid swing tempo, hard boppish number. Elvin Jones excels on this, really driving it along, you can almost hear him pushing Shorter on during his solo before he is happy and settles back down. Who is meant to be leading this band again? He takes his first solo too and pulls it off - even with the jazz guys, drum solos are something best done boldly and briefly; he fits the bill here. Morgan plays great again - I know he had a ton of personal issues in the 60’s, mostly with heroin, but I can’t hear that it has any impact on his playing (contrary to what some critics would tell you).

‘Charcoal Blues’ is, well, a blues! Led by Tyner, the opening chord line (played alone by Shorter) reminds me of something Miles might write, simple ovelapping lines. Although Shorter is an awesome composer, sometimes his playing lacks that certain something - maybe that’s a bit harsh, but you can hear him trying to turn the melody inside out here and sometimes it sounds like a struggle. Whereas someone like Sonny Rollins just let it all pour out of him, and could take a melody and play with it forever without repeating himself, it sounds like Shorter has to try a little harder. I mean he plays great! And he does get a groove going, but it takes a little bit of time. Meanwhile Elvin Jones is driving things along, building up, building down, turning it round when he needs too. Another quartet piece - I’m guessing Morgan wasn’t around on the day they did these as it makes no sense for him not to play on this track.

‘Armageddon’ might be my favourite track here. Starting with unison horn lines, the whole thing feels like it is being slowly brought to life by the band - the sedate pace as they run through the head lends an almost sombre mood to the track, you think it is going to take off but it never does. Shorter takes the first solo, followed by Morgan, and although neither go crazy, their brief solos push a little at the edges. I don’t have a ton to write about this other than it creates a mood and sticks there.

So what to think overall? Some great writing by Shorter and he covers all the basses - hard bop, ballad, waltz, blues....and some great playing by the band. The only frustrating thing about BN was that some of the bands never got the chance to play together again and you never really got to see a bunch of players evolve together (as a band). It would have been good to have heard them go all out on a couple of tracks (as much as I like ‘Armageddon’, you almost want to hear some Coltrane/Dolphy/Braxton/Rivers kinda wildcard player in there just to mix things up - Elvin Jones certainly sounds like he would have enjoyed the battle!). But its great. And there is plenty more to come. And I didn’t mention Reggie Workman at all through that - shame on me, but let me quote Shorter from the liner notes - ‘You can always feel him. He has a big sound, but his ideas are always clear’. That works for me. Never flashy, but always there.

Great cover shot as always - perfect for the album title. If the gatefold on the music matters is anything to go by, it was shot in NYC around W66th street - and that could be Shorter out of phase. He kinda had a habit of appearing on his album covers.
Of course, I was mostly stoned at the time.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby fange » 19 Sep 2011, 02:31

Ace write up, balboa!
I'm gonna pull out Night Dreamer when i get home tonight and re-read your post while i'm playing it. It's an album that often gets left forgotten in the shadows cast by the huge praises heaped on Ju Ju and Speak No Evil, and as you make clear it certainly shouldn't be.
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Balboa » 19 Sep 2011, 12:09

Fangedango! wrote:Ace write up, balboa!
I'm gonna pull out Night Dreamer when i get home tonight and re-read your post while i'm playing it. It's an album that often gets left forgotten in the shadows cast by the huge praises heaped on Ju Ju and Speak No Evil, and as you make clear it certainly shouldn't be.


Thanks! And post your thoughts on here when you listen - I'm going to pick off the albums one by one, but it will be at least another week before I get to 'Ju Ju'...
Of course, I was mostly stoned at the time.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 19 Sep 2011, 19:28

Fangedango! wrote:Ace write up, balboa!
I'm gonna pull out Night Dreamer when i get home tonight and re-read your post while i'm playing it. It's an album that often gets left forgotten in the shadows cast by the huge praises heaped on Ju Ju and Speak No Evil, and as you make clear it certainly shouldn't be.


Yes indeed. That was a very nice review of the album. I too will revisit it asap and reread your post. I never thought about if before but comparing Shorter's ballad playing to Coltrane's is very astute of you. I'm looking forward to his show which is less than two weeks away.

I hope that the rest of us can take your lead and come up with a post on one of Shorter's other albums. He certainly has plenty that are worthy.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby fange » 20 Sep 2011, 06:03

OK, let's check out Night Dreamer...

Balboa wrote:Image

So I’ll kick off here with ‘Night Dreamer’. I didn’t pick this one up for a while, and when I did, I left it unplayed for months - sometimes you just get so many albums that the thought of listening to another Wayne Shorter album seemed unneccesary. Not for the first time, I was wrong. The band is great, the writing is varied and interesting, and the whole things hangs together really well.

The album kicks off with the title track - actually with McCoy Tyner tinkling at the piano - then the band kicks in with that ¾ groove. Shorter calls the sound ‘floating’ in the liner notes and also likens it to the evening or night, as per the album title - I agree. The whole thing dances along on Tyner’s piano and Elvin Jones’ skittering drum track. Shorter’s solos are restrained (he threatens to bust out with his second solo, but keeps it all clean!), Lee Morgan’s similar - both players playing in the groove - Tyner comps himself whilst soloing, and keeps the whole mood of the piece together. As an aside, I love the way Tyner comps on the piano - he varies the phrases all the times, playing different measures of different things. The whole track is built on a simple 4 chord loop (it lilts between maj and minor chords, and descends downwards), but Tyner keeps it sounding fresh right the way through.


A great smoky, late-night groover ain’t it. Starts off so languid and cool bluesy, but I love the way it picks up a new energy after Tyner’s finished and Shorter starts his second solo – he starts honking and squeaking and tearing at the edges of the notes, with that fractured, almost alto tone he often gets when he’s letting loose, and the rhythm section are with him all the way. Man, that Elvin was a sticks genius. The energy continues as Morgan comes back in to harmonise on the head again, and then Shorter and Jones especially break free and sail off into the outro.

Balboa wrote:Next up we have ‘Oriental Folk Song’ which is one of my favourite things on the album. Its something Shorter has rearranged, and I am not familiar with the original piece of music. Morgan plays a really nice solo on this one - full of pushing and pulling. And the whole thing seems to exist on a couple of chords (outside of the head). Well, I like it!


Yes, I like this one too. It’s the kinda track you can just feel Shorter was desperate to try more of, but couldn’t because it basically didn’t have the feel of a Jazz Messenger’s tune, something Blakey could stamp his sound on for a JM album, although Jones does let off a nice rumbly little solo. There’s a lot of space, and despite the bluesy feel to the beat there’s also an exotic feel to the melody that’s really captivating.

Balboa wrote:‘Virgo’ is next - a ballad in that classic Shorter mould (he sounds a lot like Coltrane on ballads I think). I like his playing when he slows it down and blows - he has a real feel for chord changes that work (although this one does veer kinda close to ‘Infant Eyes’ territory, but that’s a cracker, so no harm done). They strip down to a quartet on this, Morgan sits it out, but the rhythm section play together like old friends. I know some people think BN had these blowing sessions, but I don’t see it that way at all; these guys really had a feel for playing together and you can hear it. Anyway, it takes its time and revolves around some changes, but it sounds lovely and sometimes that’s all that matters. And the bit at the end where Shorter takes it on his own is kinda cool too.


Yep, I think Shorter was a terrific ballad player and writer. And the Coltrane comparison really is interesting when you think about. While Shorter was still much more interested in the chord changes than Coltrane was by ’64, maybe the ballads allowed Shorter the room he needed to let the solo muse come to him more readily, as Trane was finding with the modal stuff he was doing a lot of. Not to knock Shorter’s uptempo playing, which is often terrific, but his ballad playing often has a range of tone and melodic ideas that sometimes don’t seem as rushed and blustery on the slower tracks. The first solo on Virgo in particular is so intimate and direct you can really hear what he’s trying to say, from a very soft breathy crackle of the reed on the drawn out soft notes to when there’s a very slight tempo increase and you’re there with the band and find your pulse picks up a bit too. Does everything a beautiful ballad should. And another shout out for Elvin, this time on the brushes, a gentle yet undeniable swing off of Reggie's strong bass sound.

Balboa wrote:‘Black Nile’ has the full band back and is a jaunty mid swing tempo, hard boppish number. Elvin Jones excels on this, really driving it along, you can almost hear him pushing Shorter on during his solo before he is happy and settles back down. Who is meant to be leading this band again? He takes his first solo too and pulls it off - even with the jazz guys, drum solos are something best done boldly and briefly; he fits the bill here. Morgan plays great again - I know he had a ton of personal issues in the 60’s, mostly with heroin, but I can’t hear that it has any impact on his playing (contrary to what some critics would tell you).


A sweet hard bop tune indeed - full of energy, a catchy melody line, and beautifully constructed group sections and solos from everyone. Morgan’s sound is awesome isn’t it. It’s on a tune like this where you can really hear the differences between the early Morgan sound he had till about ’61, and the sound he came back with a few years later, which sounds so much more full and individual and is speaking to you, rather than mostly showing off what a talented technical player he could be. Really listening to a great jazz drummer is an education all on its own, isn't it - it's wonderful the way Jones is pushing Shorter on as he goes through his solo, before throttling back when Morgan begins, to get a feel of where he's going, before starts edging him along more and bursting out with some power shots when Morgan wants to hit the heights, before easing back again for Tyner to come in. Such intuitive, supportive mastery.

Balboa wrote:‘Charcoal Blues’ is, well, a blues! Led by Tyner, the opening chord line (played alone by Shorter) reminds me of something Miles might write, simple ovelapping lines. Although Shorter is an awesome composer, sometimes his playing lacks that certain something - maybe that’s a bit harsh, but you can hear him trying to turn the melody inside out here and sometimes it sounds like a struggle. Whereas someone like Sonny Rollins just let it all pour out of him, and could take a melody and play with it forever without repeating himself, it sounds like Shorter has to try a little harder. I mean he plays great! And he does get a groove going, but it takes a little bit of time. Meanwhile Elvin Jones is driving things along, building up, building down, turning it round when he needs too. Another quartet piece - I’m guessing Morgan wasn’t around on the day they did these as it makes no sense for him not to play on this track.


Yeah, it’s a fun tune in its way without really standing out huh. Shorter’s solo seems a little limited in its scope considering it’s quite long too, relying on repeated lines and scale type progressions, like a bluesy jam workout that doesn’t quite lift off, but as a groovy blues it’s still an enjoyable toe tapper. It’s always nice to hear Tyner get bluesy too, combining that incredibly dexterous right hand with those big barrel-house chords from the left.

Balboa wrote:‘Armageddon’ might be my favourite track here. Starting with unison horn lines, the whole thing feels like it is being slowly brought to life by the band - the sedate pace as they run through the head lends an almost sombre mood to the track, you think it is going to take off but it never does. Shorter takes the first solo, followed by Morgan, and although neither go crazy, their brief solos push a little at the edges. I don’t have a ton to write about this other than it creates a mood and sticks there.


I love this one too, especially the way the band are still so awesomely tight on the sombre and moody group parts. I think the change of feeling in Shorter's solo compared to the head is quite freeing, opening the tune up with a sense of angry, energetic release, and Morgan’s following solo sounds absolutely terrific, like brief sparkling explosions bursting and falling above a darkened city. But then that’s probably why he is one of my favourite musicians of all time, I seem to see pictures in my head and to hear emotions I can connect to so often when he plays. Tyner brings it back down and back into the sombre head again, and this is a nice closer too for the whole album, a perfect contrast to the barely restrained energy built into the title track.

Balboa wrote:So what to think overall? Some great writing by Shorter and he covers all the basses - hard bop, ballad, waltz, blues....and some great playing by the band. The only frustrating thing about BN was that some of the bands never got the chance to play together again and you never really got to see a bunch of players evolve together (as a band). It would have been good to have heard them go all out on a couple of tracks (as much as I like ‘Armageddon’, you almost want to hear some Coltrane/Dolphy/Braxton/Rivers kinda wildcard player in there just to mix things up - Elvin Jones certainly sounds like he would have enjoyed the battle!). But its great. And there is plenty more to come. And I didn’t mention Reggie Workman at all through that - shame on me, but let me quote Shorter from the liner notes - ‘You can always feel him. He has a big sound, but his ideas are always clear’. That works for me. Never flashy, but always there.


Yep, a great album that really announces Shorter’s gifts beyond a shadow of a doubt. Wow, imagine Dolphy on there as a third horn as well – that really gets the imagination going! But despite the ‘what ifs’ this is such a solid session, you can still come back to it a lot and find a lot of new things to enjoy.

Great stuff Balboa – this has been like a synch listen without the synch! An excellent idea man.
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Balboa » 21 Sep 2011, 20:59

Cool! Great stuff and thanks for posting.

You are right about Elvin Jones, he is an awesome player.

I'm going to try and do 'ju ju' next - please join me!
Of course, I was mostly stoned at the time.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 21 Sep 2011, 23:35

I keep meaning to post something here but I've been too busy. When things settle down I'll give one of the albums a proper listen and report back. It's a good thread that shouldn't be allowed to die too soon.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 23 Sep 2011, 18:51

I listened to The All Seeing Eye (side one) last night when I got home from the Jim Lauderdale concert. Unfortunately I didn't record any of my responses and I was really too tired to completely absorb it properly since I was heading off to bed.
I'll try again today. ;)

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 24 Sep 2011, 18:14

Ok, I listened to the All Seeing Eye last night before I went to bed and here's my thoughts.

I've always thought that this album was deeper than some of his earlier BN albums and by deeper I mean more dense, busy, energetic, etc. I still feel that way and in with this listening session following the recently received Miles Davis Bootleg series #1 from the 1967 European Tour I feel like this album almost foretold the direction that the Miles Quintet was heading in if anyone was paying attention. Of course it's easier said now with 20/20 Hindsight vision.
The musicians include Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Joe Chambers joining Wayne in the year 1965.

Trk 1 All Seeing Eye
Free Bop as someone called the music the Miles Quintet was playing by 1967 and that label describes what's going on here. It's very energetic with everyone on their collective toes. Joe Chambers, who is excellent throughout with interesting choices for keeping time as well as the colorations that are needed in between the job of keeping the clock moving. The song is fast and furious and quite an opening track.

Trk2 Genesis
Begins as the title suggests with a slow pace that mimics the beginning of the creation of something. The music seems to spread like flowing lava with regularly scheduled flare ups from the band. Wayne's solo is purposeful in it's searching or growing quality and the drums respond in kind. Again Joe Chambers
showing great taste in coloration and bold rhythm changes. The bursts of energy may represent times of creation or massive change occuring, I'm not sure.
Freddie Hubbard's solo is very free sounding and it makes sense that he's here since this was not long after he recorded Breaking Point and was around the time of his Blue Spirit album so he was certainly capable of pushing the envelope.

Trk3 Chaos
This one begins with Wayne blowing hot right out of the gate. Joe Chambers does a great job pushing the band and getting a SLAM! or BASH! ever once in a while. Herbie's solo is equally fierce and everything comes to a chaotic end funnily enough.

Trk4 Face Of the Deep
This song opens with the horns, beautiful and light which gives way to Herbie's pensive solo. The horn arrangement is a combination of traditional for the time but still pushing forward.

Trk5 Mephistophiles
Written by Alan Shorter, Wayne's brother who also plays trumpet on it. There's a slinky rhythm like a slow mambo that by itself would indicate a dance number
except for the comping by the piano which is kind of out there and would have removed some of the urge to shake the booty. Alan takes his solo that like many solos on this album, in the pocket but pushing the edge of both the melody and the rhythm accents. Joe Chambers really shines with this ever changing song. His colorations with the toms or cymbals add much more than simple rhythm.

This album contains 3/5 of the Miles Quintet plus a drummer and young trumpeter that were eager to expand the sound of jazz. It seems obvious to me that Wayne was already heading in the direction that the Miles Quintet ended up going by 1967.
Last edited by Six String on 27 Sep 2011, 19:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby fange » 27 Sep 2011, 01:02

Great stuff, Six! I'll give The All Seeing Eye a spin sometime this week too.
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby fange » 02 Oct 2011, 04:53

Ok, time forsome Sunday morning Shorter...

Six String wrote:Ok, I listened to the All Seeing Eye last night before I went to bed and here's my thoughts.

I've always thought that this album was deeper than some of his earlier BN albums and by deeper I mean more dense, busy, energetic, etc. I still feel that way and in with this listening session following the recently received Miles Davis Bootleg series #1 from the 1967 European Tour I feel like this album almost foretold the direction that the Miles Quintet was heading in if anyone was paying attention. Of course it's easier said now with 20/20 Hindsight vision.
The musicians include Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Joe Chambers joining Wayne in the year 1965.


That Miles bootleg set is on the wishlist now, so will have to come back to it, but dense, busy and energetic are all words that come to mind with The All Seeing Eye, for sure, as well as challenging and entertaining in the best sense of those words. It’s pretty clear that he was really trying to stretch his musical brief at this time, with the bigger combos and different instruments than he previously worked with, and the sounds he was working on would be key part of what made the ‘second great quintet’ so terrific.

Six String wrote:Trk 1 All Seeing Eye
Free Bop as someone called the music the Miles Quintet was playing by 1967 and that label describes what's going on here. It's very energetic with everyone on their collective toes. Joe Chambers, who is excellent throughout with interesting choices for keeping time as well as the colorations that are needed in between the job of keeping the clock moving. The song is fast and furious and quite an opening track.


That's a very apt term isn't it, free bop. The tune swings like a mofo, but there's all these arhythmic elements as well. Chambers is such a good drummer, pushing and pulling at the tempos and always keeping things fresh and interesting. And Herbie Hancock's solo on this track is brilliant, so varied in sound and approach at different times and his connection with the rest of the rhythm section at about the 9.5 minute mark is sublime. Rattle rattle smack smack bang bang jazz! Your heart just starts pounding along with them.


Six String wrote:Trk2 Genesis
Begins as the title suggests with a slow pace that mimics the beginning of the creation of something. The music seems to spread like flowing lava with regularly scheduled flare ups from the band. Wayne's solo is purposeful in it's searching or growing quality and the drums respond in kind. Again Joe Chambers
showing great taste in coloration and bold rhythm changes. The bursts of energy may represent times of creation or massive change occuring, I'm not sure.
Freddie Hubbard's solo is very free sounding and it makes sense that he's here since this was not long after he recorded Breaking Point and was around the time of his Blue Spirit album so he was certainly capable of pushing the envelope.


Ahh, the Hubb. You’re right, that solo is really free sounding, with Hancock rolling those cascading notes behind him and Chambers thumping his drums like they’re massive hollow logs or something. But Hubbard ALWAYS sounds in control, whether he's firing off machine-gun runs or long and slow notes, and with that 'brass proud' tone which i love in a trumpeter. Moncur is also a real weapon on this track - that moody trombone style and sound he has is perfect for a tune like this. It feels like a real journey, a story-like composition, quite varied and free but with a definite overall sense of structure that’s interesting to follow, from some of the big band elements to the very quiet.

Six String wrote:Trk3 Chaos
This one begins with Wayne blowing hot right out of the gate. Joe Chambers does a great job pushing the band and getting a SLAM! or BASH! ever once in a while. Herbie's solo is equally fierce and everything comes to a chaotic end funnily enough.


It’s funny you say that about the opening solo, coz I’ve always thought it was James Spaulding who got the first leg here! The horn sounds so bluesy and declarative, in that winding and energetic style which made Spaulding so popular as a session player. Then Hubb has a fine fiery solo, before I think Shorter takes a shot. The horn here seems to have that more cracked tone that Shorter plays with, and a more squally attack, especially when he plays off the rhythm section in bursts, like at about the 4 minute mark. And Hancock is brilliant again on this track, the way he tosses in notes when he’s comping, as well as the ‘chaotic’ solo.
I really enjoy this tune, not because it’s ground-breaking or anything, but it’s an awesomely powerful piece of challenging hard bop, it’s ‘body’ music as well as mind, and you can really see the dance-floor roots of this wonderful music as well as the more artistic conceptions Shorter was working on.

Six String wrote:Trk4 Face Of the Deep
This song opens with the horns, beautiful and light which gives way to Herbie's pensive solo. The horn arrangement is a combination of traditional for the time but still pushing forward.


A nice Shorter ballad-style piece of the time, though for me it’s not as instantly captivating or memorable as some of his previous tunes. A lot of work seems to have gone into the arrangements though, it carries the mysterious feel quite well, and Herbie’s solo is an exquisite extension of that.

Six String wrote:Trk5 Mephistophiles
Written by Alan Shorter, Wayne's brother who also plays trumpet on it. There's a slinky rhythm like a slow mambo that by itself would indicate a dance number except for the comping by the piano which is kind of out there and would have removed some of the urge to shake the booty. Alan takes his solo that like many solos on this album, in the pocket but pushing the edge of both the melody and the rhythm accents. Joe Chambers really shines with this ever changing song. His colorations with the toms or cymbals add much more than simple rhythm.


Another real ‘story’ of a composition, and quite enjoyable. If you have the time to let yourself get lost in it I think it repays repeat listens, as the feeling of the different instruments and sections creates an interesting whole. There’s a manic edge to the horns when they play in unison during the intro, and Chambers is awesome with Hancock and Carter at creating this quite menacing and disquieting rhythmic underbelly to the tune. As you say it’s kind of like an ‘evil’ latin groove or something, sensual but slightly scary. And when Moncur solos his trombone sounds positively funereal over Hancock’s beautiful soft comping, and that short ‘jungle death drum’ solo from Chambers before the group outro. A good ending to a very enjoyable album.

Six String wrote:This album contains 3/5 of the Miles Quintet plus a drummer and young trumpeter that were eager to expand the sound of jazz. It seems obvious to me that Wayne was already heading in the direction that the Miles Quintet ended up going by 1967.


It’s great isn’t it to hear this stuff in tandem with how the MD quintet were progressing in the mid/late-60s, just as it’s incredible to hear Hancock’s solo stuff from this time as well! It makes for an amazingly diverse body of work that mirrors and compliments itself in so many fascinating ways.
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby fange » 14 Oct 2013, 10:36

NP, again...

Image

Oh man, it's been maybe a year since I've hear this album, way too long, so i'm feelin' the urge to wax lyrical as I let it sink in again.

The title track is the perfect way to kick off the record – straight out of the blocks and we have the quartet working hard and in unison on that lovely melody, which has a repetitive, chant-like quality that obviously prompted Shorter to give the tune its name. Man, you wanna know what a jazz drumming octopus would sound like? He’d sound like Elvin bloody Jones, that’s who. Those incredible rhythms he keeps up all over the kit are not simply astounding but totally funky as well, and Workman is solid as a rock yet totally flexible enough to stay out of the way of Shorter or Tyner when they are soloing in particular, where a walking bass would’ve been like a series of potholes in the road for a song like this. Shorter’s solo is just off the hook with emotion but totally plugged into the melody still, following the measures even when he’s doing the little cyclone trills and long ragged notes that had become such a part of his style by ’64.

The calmer intro to ‘Deluge’ comes as a nice moment of relaxation after the intensity of ‘Ju Ju’, and the mid-tempo bluesy lope the song becomes feels like a bracing beer and shot to get a night out kicked off. There is a beautiful use of space in the melody to this tune, a delicious sense of FALLING as Shorter gets to the end part of the melody, plays the second last note and then pauses – just long enough for Jones to hit a couple more beats, leave another beat worth of space, and then they all hit back in on the last note, so that you feel your body moving to anticipate that note too; a head nod, a holding of breath before that release. That’s where the groove lives, in that space, and the way they all play around with the tune yet always land back together is the epitome of funk.

The ballad-like, beginning to ‘House of Jade’ is beautiful yet deceptive too, as the subtle tempo shifts throughout really catch hold of you and keep you on your toes for what feel may come next – relaxed, tense, happy - so that it’s far from a conventional ballad. Again, I couldn’t see a tune like this working as well without a bass player of Workman’s skill; his playing is such a pivotal part of the way the tempos shift and he plays a very upfront but never domineering role in moving the group between the sections, it all happens very smoothly and beautifully. And Tyner is so in control of those big spaced out chords you almost don’t realize how important he is to the song’s sound after that initial cascade of notes at the beginning and before his brief solo, but going back and just listening to his contributions is something I love and will forever repay repeated listens.

Another tune named after an Eastern theme, ‘Mahjong’ really does have a kind of Chinese musical feel to the melody, especially in the way Tyner plays, both the notes and the intervals between them. Shorter gives the first solo to him as well and it sets up the song perfectly, the piano’s blend of percussive and melodic elements bringing out the different sides of the tune. The back-and-forth feel the different tempos the band use give the song that kind of combative element inherent in its name, and Jones’ genius with the sticks certainly doesn’t hurt, lots of noise and fury, dropping and rising. And Shorter just rides the changes nicely, never too far out from the melody, keeping things civilized but full of the give and take of a friendly game.

‘Yes and No’ feels about as close to a ‘normal’ hard bop bouncer as Shorter was gonna write or play during this period, but really it’s anything but, with the changes between the major and minor feels giving it modern 60s feel and Shorter’s brittle tone giving it an edge that is very much looking towards the new thing. The band play the hell out of the tune, whatever you wanna call it anyway.

And ‘Twelve More Bars To Go’ is probably about as close to a ‘normal’ 12-bar blues as Shorter was gonna write or play too, but again it’s a wonderfully inventive and unique take on the form. It’s become my favourite tune on the record in recent years – Shorter’s horn almost sounds like a drunk guy shouting as he seems to slur some of the notes, dropping up and down in volume, and with an almost backwards-sounding quality at some points. And the rhythm section have that hot, smoky nightclub blues feel wrapped up tight/loose just right, with Jones’ drumming absolutely fucking incredible, capturing the sometimes stumbling, sometimes weaving feel of a drunk guy trying to walk the streets as well as you could ever hope to hear. An absolute gem, and a brilliant way to close a wonderful record.

And some youtube links to tempt you to listen to the record some more...



Last edited by fange on 13 Apr 2018, 02:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 15 Oct 2013, 14:38

Great post Ange! I thought jazz was all but dead on the board. :)

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby fange » 15 Oct 2013, 17:01

No, jazz is dead. That was just my eulogy, the linguistic equivalent of post-mortem muscle spasms, in 3/4 time during the verses and 5/6 in the bridge.

Time to say goodbye, Les - in the name of Fatha, Sonny, and the Holy Spirits Up Above, RIP, jazzmen.
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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff

Postby Six String » 15 Oct 2013, 20:00

8-)

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Re: Wayne Shorter - let's listen to his 60's Blue Note stuff.

Postby fange » 13 Apr 2018, 02:02



What a fucking tune; proof perfect that too many fucking master cooks definitely do NOT spoil the jazz broth. Written for and as an tribute to Bobby Timmons by Shorter, to be honest i've always liked this version better than the one Timmons recorded on The Soul Man!, which has more of a wound-up, tight-as-a-drum feel. The one above just breeeeaaaaatheeeeessssss. It expands with effortless-sounding cool, Shorter reveling in the space left by the insanely swinging grooves laid down by the rhythm section, wafting around like 'Moanin' does, all light to the touch but razor sharp in the changes and turnarounds.

Soaring genius.
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