On March 2, a door closed for which no new one will open. Wayne Shorter is dead. His significance can be described in one sentence, which probably contains more jazz history than any other. It reads: Wayne Shorter was poached by Miles Davis from Art Blakey in 1964 on the recommendation of John Coltrane. With that, saxophonist Shorter had reached Olympus. We can't think of any prize he hasn't won subsequently, including the Polar Prize, the unofficial "Nobel Prize for Music". His playing was as precise as it was intricate, his bandleading full of generous impulses. His compositions like "Footprints" shaped an era and became standards. Without him, there would have been neither Miles Davis' style-defining second quintet, of which he was a formative composer, nor the most influential fusion band of all time, Weather Report. His late all-star quartet with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade, with whom he was a guest at Enjoy Jazz in 2009 and 2011, was considered one of the best in recent jazz history. Wayne Shorter may have passed away Wednesday in Los Angeles, but his music remains engraved in our hearts as an endless loop. Still, everything about this death feels wrong somehow. Because, as I said, for the door that has closed here, no new one will open.
Date: March 2, 2023