Wayne Shorter, Saxophonist and Miles Davis Collaborator, Has Died

wayne shorter
Wayne Shorter | Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns
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Influential jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter has died aged 89. Shorter’s publicist confirmed the news to The New York Times on Thursday, 2nd March, saying Shorter had passed away in hospital. No specific cause of death was given at the time.

Shorter rose to fame during the 1960s as a tenor saxophonist, composer and bandleader for Blue Note Records. The New Jersey-born Shorter worked with some of the biggest names in jazz history, including Art Blakey (as a member of the Jazz Messengers), and Miles Davis as part of Davis’ Second Great Quintet. Alongside Davis, Shorter is considered one of the great pioneers of jazz fusion.

Wayne Shorter: ‘Footprints’

Through his work with Blue Note, Shorter created what are now considered jazz standards, including ‘Footprints’ and ‘Black Nile’, while his free jazz and fusion group, Weather Report, became immensely popular throughout the 1970s and 80s. Shorter also worked with many artists outside of the jazz scene, including Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana, and Steely Dan – most notably on the group’s 1977 record Aja.

Shorter released a phenomenal number of records as a solo artist, including his most recent studio LP, 2018’s Emanon, which he recorded with John Patitucci (bass), Brian Blade (drums) and Danilo Perez (piano), along with the 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Among Shorter’s many canonical releases is the 1975 album, Native Dancer, a collaboration with Brazilian singer and guitarist, Milton Nascimento.

Wayne Shorter – ‘Ponta de Areia’ featuring Milton Nascimento

Shorter has 12 Grammy Awards to his name, his last being won in 2023 for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for the track ‘Endangered Species’, which appeared on the 2022 release, Live at the Detroit Jazz Festival. Shorter wrote the piece with renowned bassist Esperanza Spalding, a close collaborator in his later years. The two artists wrote an opera together, Iphigenia, which was performed throughout 2021 and 2022.

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