Wayne Shorter

wayne-shorter-sanremo-631Wayne Shorter was born in Newark, NJ in 1933. He began playing clarinet in high school and later switched to the tenor saxophone. From 1952 to 1956 he studied music at New York University and played in a local bands, including a short stint with pianist Horace Silver before being drafted in 1956. Following his discharge in October 1958 he was recruited by Art Blakey to join his band, the Jazz Messengers. He stayed with Messengers until 1963, contributing much of the band’s repertoire and acting as the musical director. It is this period from 1959 through 1961 that is the subject of this series of podcasts on Wayne Shorter.

Wayne Shorter 1959-1961 - Episode 1

In addition to being an oustanding tenor saxophonist with a very original sound and style, he is equally renowned today as one of the most important jazz composers post 1960. Wayne began to compose a series of uniquely constructed compositions beginning in 1959 that would eventually alter the style of hard bop improvisation and transform the sound of the Messengers. The works on podcast #1 are all from 1959.
WrinklesWayne Shorter/Wynton KellyKelly Great!1959
June NightWayne Shorter/Wynton KellyKelly Great!1959
Blues a La CarteWayne ShorterIntroducing Wayne Shorter1959
Down in the DepthsWayne ShorterIntroducing Wayne Shorter1959
Black DiamondWayne ShorterIntroducing Wayne Shorter1959

Wayne Shorter 1959-1961 - Episode 2

Many of the new works that Wayne was composing for the Messengers recordings after 1960 contained sinewy melodies, unexpected harmonies, and often unusual forms. This forced the musicians to change the way they improvised through these new compositions. It was easy for Wayne to play through his own tunes. His style soon began to change and move away from the Coltrane/Rollins influenced approach. The Young Lions session was a great arranging opportunity for Wayne because he had another horn player in the band to fill out his harmonies.
The Chess PlayersWayne Shorter/Art BlakeyThe Big Beat1960
Sakeena's VisionWayne Shorter/Art BlakeyThe Big Beat1960
Lester Left TownWayne Shorter/Art BlakeyThe Big Beat1960
The Seeds of SinWayne ShorterThe Young Lions1960

Wayne Shorter 1959-1961 - Episode 3

The recordings on this podcast show Wayne experimenting with unusual harmonic movement and form. He was moving away from the standard format of jazz composition. A number of these works have no definitive tonal or key center and seem to have a floating quality. These works would later form the basis of the Miles Davis Quintet of the mid 1960’s (that included Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock) and Shorter’s great Blue Note recordings from the same period. The 1961 albums included trombonist Curtis Fuller and gave Shorter another musical voice to fill out his arrangements.
Pug NoseWayne ShorterIntroducing Wayne Shorter1960
Sincerely DianaWayne ShorterArt Blakey and the Jazz Messengers1960
The AlbatrossWayne ShorterSecond Genesis1960
TenderfootWayne ShorterSecond Genesis1960
El ToroWayne Shorter/Art BlakeyFreedom Rider1961
Children of the NightWayne Shorter/Art BlakeyMosaic1961

Lee Morgan

Morgan 1Lee Morgan was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1938. He was a leading trumpeter and composer recording prolifically from 1956 until 1972. He started playing the trumpet at 13 and his primary stylistic influence was Clifford Brown, with whom he took a few lessons as a teenager. His other major influences included Fats Navarro and Dizzy Gillespie. He joined the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band at age 18 and remained a member for a year and a half until 1958. He began recording for Blue Note Records in 1956, eventually recording 25 albums as a leader for the company. He was also a featured sideman on several early Hank Mobley records. His playing was technically, melodically, and harmonically advanced. The record buying public and audiences were receptive to his powerful style that exuded the essence of hard bop.

Lee Morgan - Episode 1

The SidewinderLee MorganThe Sidewinder1963
NostalgiaFats Navarro1947
The Blues WalkClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
Things to ComeDizzy Gillespie Big Band1946
Hank’s ShoutLee Morgan/Hank MobleyIntroducing Lee Morgan1956
Latin HangoverLee MorganLee Morgan Vol.21956

Lee Morgon - Episode 2

In 1957 Lee continued his busy recording session appearing on many Blue Note releases including John Coltrane's album Blue Train. Joining Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1958 helped further develop his talent as a soloist and composer. He toured with Art Blakey for a few years, and was featured on numerous albums by the Messengers, including Moanin', which is one of the band's best-known recordings. When Benny Golson left the Jazz Messengers, Morgan persuaded Blakey to hire Wayne Shorter, a young tenor saxophonist and composer, to fill the vacancy.
The Way You Look TonightLee Morgan/Johnny GriffinA Blowing Session1957
Blue TrainLee Morgan/John ColtraneBlue Train1957
Moment’s NoticeLee Morgan/John ColtraneBlue Train1957
Just One of Those ThingsLee MorganThe Cooker1957
Since If Fell For YouLee MorganThe Cooker1957
Moanin’Lee Morgan/Art BlakeyMoanin’1958
Along Came BettyLee Morgan/Art BlakeyMoanin’1958

Lee Morgan - Episode 3

On this podcast I pick up with Lee Morgan’s musical activities in 1959 and 1960. With the addition of Wayne Shorter to Art Blakey’s Messengers the sound of the group began to change with the new compositions Wayne brought to the band. Shorter was using unusual harmonies and forms which affected the way Lee Morgan was approaching improvisation. He also recorded a number of outstanding tracks on the Vee-Jay label with Wayne Shorter. After Morgan left the Messengers in 1961 he did not record as prolifically as he had done the previous 3 years. In 1963 he performed with Grachan Moncur and Jackie McLean on the album Evolution. This signaled a new phase for Morgan’s musical development and career.
Lester Left TownLee Morgan/Art BlakeyAfricaine1959
Paper MoonLee Morgan/Art BlakeyBig Beat1960
ExpoobidentLee MorganExpoobident1960
AfriqueLee Morgan/Art BlakeyWitch Doctor1961
Kozo’s WaltzLee Morgan/Art BlakeyNight in Tunisia1960
Monk in WonderlandLee Morgan/Grachan MoncurEvolution1963

Lee Morgan - Episode 4

On returning to New York in 1963, he recorded The Sidewinder which became his greatest commercial success. Due to the crossover success of "The Sidewinder" in a rapidly changing pop music market, Blue Note Records encouraged its artists to emulate the tune's dance-like back beat. As successful as the Sidewinder was Morgan felt that his playing was much more advanced on the Evolution album, recorded a month earlier. After this commercial success, Morgan continued to record prolifically, releasing close to twenty additional albums as a leader in the 1960’s. In addition Morgan appeared as a sideman on some excellent albums lead by Wayne Shorter, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Lonnie Smith, Elvin Jones, Larry Young, and several more albums with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
The SidewinderLee MorganThe Sidewinder1963
Mr. KenyattaLee MorganSearch for the New Land1964
Search New LandLee MorganSearch for the New Land1964
Night DreamerLee Morgan/Wayne ShorterNight Dreamer1964
Go to My HeadLee MorganGigolo1965
Our Man HigginsLee MorganCornbread1965
CeoraLee MorganCornbread1965

Weather Report

PastoriusThe origins of this innovative group started in late 1969. The 3 founding members, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, and bassist Miroslav Vitous had performed with world renowned bands and had recorded with some of the most important artists in jazz. They had all played together on a series of recordings together in 1969-1970, including the albums Zawinul, Super Nova, and Bitches Brew. Shorter and Zawinul had established themselves as two of the most influential jazz composers of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The original group included Alphonse Mouzon on drums and percussionist DomUm Romao. Weather Report, in essence, was a band that had three leaders and they had to figure out how to make it work. The group had a conventional lineup in terms of instrumentation, but used it in unconventional ways. The group abandoned traditional time keeping in favor of integrated group interaction. This often included modality or no conventional chord changes. Much of the music had no strict meter or traditional harmonic organization. There was much emphasis on the creation of color and texture. This was a band that fused together many different styles with non-traditional approaches.

Weather Report - Episode 1

Cucumber SlumberWeather ReportMysterious Traveler1975
In a Silent WayJoe ZawinulZawinul1970
Swee-PeaWayne ShorterSuper Nova1970
Water BabiesWayne ShorterSuper Nova1970
Seventh ArrowWeather ReportWeather Report1971
Milky WayWeather ReportWeather Report1971

Weather Report - Episode 2

This podcast is a continuation of the music from their debut album Weather Report and the next album I Sing the Body Electric. On the 2nd album the focus changes a bit to a larger, more orchestral conception on the studio recordings. Half of the recording was done in the studio and the other half is from a live performance in Tokyo from 1972. The live performances capture the energy and improvisatory nature of the group. Zawinul also begins using a synthesizer on this recording which adds to his pallet of musical color.
Orange LadyWeather ReportWeather Report1971
EurydiceWeather ReportWeather Report1971
Unknown SoldierWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1971
MoorsWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1971
Second Sunday in AugustWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1971
Vertical InvaderWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1972
DirectionsWeather ReportI Sing the Body Electric1972

Weather Report - Episode 3

The album Sweetnighter marks a change in direction for the group. Zawinul wanted the music to be more accessible to larger audiences and consequently toned down the free form collective improvisation and focused more on structured compositions. Some of the tracks like “Boogie Woogie Waltz” and “125th Street Congress” have a strong rhythmic dance-like hook. To this end Zawinul brought in new a new drummer and bassist to augment the group. They did not completely abandon the free form pieces and there are some included on the album, but this record is certainly a turning point for the band. The next album, Mysterious Traveller, marked another change in personnel and musical focus. By this time it is apparent that Zawinul is charting the musical direction of the group. Zawinul’s interest in technology in terms of analog synthesizers and studio overdubbing become an important component of the music production.
Boogie Woogie WaltzWeather ReportSweetnighter1973
AdiosWeather ReportSweetnighter1973
Non-Stop HomeWeather ReportSweetnighter1973
Nubian SundanceWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974
Mysterious TravellerWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974

Weather Report - Episode 4

The album Black Market from 1975 marked another crossroad for the group; that was the 1st appearance of the bassist Jaco Pastorius in the band. His presence on all subsequent albums would again alter the sound and focus of the band. Pastorius, in addition to being an excellent composer, was an innovative bassist who has influenced generations of electric bassists.
Cucumber SlumberWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974
Jungle BookWeather ReportMysterious Traveller1974
Black MarketWeather ReportBlack Market1975
ContinuumJaco PastoriusJaco1975
Portrait of TracyJaco PastoriusJaco1975
CannonballWeather ReportBlack Market1975

Weather Report - Episode 5

Heavy Weather, released in 1977, was by far their most popular, accessible, and successful album. The hit composition “Birdland” helped to make this their best-selling LP. The group underwent personnel changes again but the star trio of Shorter, Zawinul, and Pastorius would remain unchanged through the 1980’s. The addition of new compositions from Pastorius added a new dimension to the band. Listen to Jaco’s ability to make the bass sing on the track “A Remark You Made.”
BirdlandWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
A Remark You MadeWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
PalladiumWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
Teen TownWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977
HavonaWeather ReportHeavy Weather1977

Freddie Hubbard

Hubbard 3Hubbard’s trumpet playing is a combination of all the greats that came before him including Clifford Brown, Fats Navarro, Dizzy Gillespie, and some contemporaries including Booker Little and Lee Morgan. His astounding technique, great range, beautiful sound, and seemingly endless creativity made him one of the most sought after trumpet players of his generation.

Freddie Hubbard - Episode 1

Freddie Hubbard was born in 1938 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He played mellophone and then trumpet in his school band, studying at the Jordan Conservatory. While living in Indianapolis he played with Wes and Monk Montgomery, Larry Ridley, and James Spaulding. Moving to New York in 1958 at the age of 20, he quickly found work playing working with artists like Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, J.J. Johnson, and Eric Dolphy. His debut album, Open Sesame, was released on Blue Note Records in 1960. With his meteoric rise to fame he recorded a series of outstanding albums in quick succession on Blue Note. In late 1961 he replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and stayed with Blakey until 1964, recording a number of albums with The Messengers. He was also featured on four groundbreaking early 1960s recording sessions: Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth, Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch, and John Coltrane's Ascension. Included in this podcast are his first recordings as a band leader.
One Finger SnapFreddie Hubbard/Herbie HancockEmpyrean Isles1964
LocomotionLee Morgan/John ColtraneBlue Train1957
MilestonesBooker Little/Max RoachBooker Little 41958
All of Nothing at AllFreddie HubbardOpen Sesame1960
Open SesameFreddie HubbardOpen Sesame1960
But BeautifulFreddie HubbardOpen Sesame1960
ByrdlikeFreddie HubbardReady for Freddie1961
Hub TonesFreddie HubbardHub Tones1962

Freddie Hubbard - Episode 2

On this podcast I will highlight some of his best work from the early to mid-1960’s as a sideman. His performances on these recordings set a high benchmark for all subsequent trumpet players. In the 1960’s Freddie recorded or performed with almost every important jazz artist on the scene. His greatest popular success came in the 1970’s with a series of crossover albums on Atlantic and CTI Records. His early 1970’s jazz albums for CTI, Red Clay, First Light, and Straight Life were particularly well received and First Light won a Grammy Award.
Stolen MomentsFreddie Hubbard/Oliver NelsonBlues and Abstract Truth1961
Hoe DownFreddie Hubbard/Oliver NelsonBlues and Abstract Truth1961
It’s You or No OneFreddie Hubbard/Dexter GordonDoin’ Allright1961
CaravanFreddie Hubbard/Art BlakeyCaravan1962
SkylarkFreddie Hubbard/Art BlakeyCaravan1962
Eye of the HurricaneFreddie Hubbard/Herbie HancockMaiden Voyage1965
One Finger SnapFreddie Hubbard/Herbie HancockEmpyrean Isles1964
Wild FlowerFreddie Hubbard/Wayne ShorterSpeak No Evil1964