Personalities | Wayne Shorter | Sixties | Jazz & Blues
(Tenor and soprano saxophones, b. 1933)
Wayne Shorter’s most significant early position was in Maynard Ferguson’s orchestra in 1958, where he met pianist Joe Zawinul. In 1959 Shorter joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and soon thereafter made his debut as a leader. He gained prominence as a member of Miles Davis’s ambitious groups from 1964–70, in which his unusual, compelling compositions were often featured, and as a Blue Note Records leader and sideman. Shorter teamed with Zawinul and bassist Miroslav Vitous in 1970 to form Weather Report, which became one of the world’s most popular fusion bands.
Shorter’s album Native Dancer (1974) introduced Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento to North America, and he was also in the repertory group VSOP with Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard. Shorter left Weather Report in 1985, then toured with rock guitarist Carlos Santana and recorded with Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. His own projects were intermittent until 1992, when a dying Miles Davis urged him to step forth. Shorter has led his own ensembles since then, acknowledged as a major, if still elusive, jazz voice.
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