Wayne Shorter: Legendary jazz saxophonist dies at 89

  • By Brandon Drenon
  • BBC News, Washington

source of images, Getty Images


Wayne Shorter is credited with shaping much of 20th century jazz music

One of jazz’s greatest saxophonists, Wayne Shorter, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 89.

A well-known figure on the jazz circuit in the late 1950s, Shorter is credited with shaping much of 20th century jazz music.

The winner of 12 Grammy Awards has performed alongside several big names, including Miles Davis, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock.

He died Thursday surrounded by his family, confirmed his press officer.

The tributes that poured in from social media shared a common sentiment: gone, but not forgotten.

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In the 1950s he played with the Jazz Messengers among the likes of Blakey, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard, eventually becoming the group’s musical director.

But in 1964 he was kicked out after several attempts by jazz legend Miles Davis to join Davis’ First Great Quintet. It was there that he played alongside the prolific pianist Hancock.

Shorter had also released solo albums as early as 1959, including the acclaimed Speak No Evil, Night Dreamer and JuJu.

Recording solo albums gave him more creative freedom. He began fusing jazz with rock and Latin music, giving rise to the admired sounds in his next musical group Weather Report.

Adding funk and R&B grooves, in 1977 Shorter’s album Heavy Weather went platinum and reached the top 30 of the US charts. He also performed with the Rolling Stones that year on their Brides to Babylon album.

He reunited with Davis – along with Hubbard and Hancock – in the Second Great Quartet in the late 70s and recorded the Grammy-winning album A Tribute to Miles in 1994 after Davis’ death.

Wayne Shorter was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1933, and first played the clarinet at age 15. Soon after, he switched to tenor and soprano saxophone and studied music in college before spending two years in the United States Army.

Among the dozen Grammy awards he won, Shorter received a lifetime achievement award in 2015.

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