Wayne Shorter's Quartet in my home town tonight!!

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    So tonight I am off to see Wayne Shorter at the Brighton Dome - just down the road from where I live!!

    I find it almost incredible that somebody who made a name with the Jazz Messengers, played in Miles' best Quintet for many years and co-founded my favourite band ever (possibly) is still making great music and is in my town!! ;)

    I'll post a review tomorrow - but has anybody else seen Wayne on this tour ......?
  2. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Cool, I'm seing him March 31st here in Gothenburgs concert hall...

  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  4. Is this the band with Pattitucci, Blade, Perez et al?
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes and a support act!! :)
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I saw them when they came through here, and I have to say I considered it one of the worst jazz shows I've ever seen, especially considering the potential of that group. However, I should add that it seemed to be one of those "love it/hate it" kind of shows....people seemed to line up in those camps and no others. Personally, I didn't hear any type of sustained melody or any recognizable groove at all for the duration of the 2 hours. Your tastes may be different, though. I hope you enjoy it.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think a lot of the audience last night were with you Chris - there was some disappointment clearly evident, looking around. But I find it strange that people pay a lot of money, to go to a gig where they know very little about the artists playing. :confused:

    So - I have the Footprints live album, have seen this group on TV/heard them on Radio and so knew what to expect.

    I go to see Jazz groups every week and what is great for me is that Wayne Shorter doesn't do anything that is part of the usual Jazz gig; so :

    No song announcements/introductions
    No - play the head, solo, solo head again and finish!
    No walking bass lines
    etc. etc.

    I suppose I disagree with you about wasting the potential of the group - my feeling is that they all get to contribute and take the music in different directions in this "free-er" format. So, obviously, there is a lot of free playing with no discernible structure, but then Miles was doing this in the 60s quintet that included Shorter.

    I think this is an acquired taste, but I like the way it means that every gig goes where it will and that with players of lesser "potential" it may not be so interesting - but Patitucci, Perez and Blade are well up to following Wayne wherever he chooses to go, as well as taking the music in directions they suggest.

    I must say I loved everything that John Patitucci plaed on the gig - wonderful tone, even bowed and his low notes were fantastically rich. He seemed to be able to find so many different ways of accompanying without ever playing anything straighforward - like a walking line! ;) I must say that in a lot of Jazz gigs I go to - the walking line starts, locks in with the drummer's ride and the whole band is like on "automatic pilot", That's never the case with this band - always thinking and coming up with new ideas - rhythmic or maybe little melodic patterns.

    I see it as not really Jazz - but informed by it. So to me it was like a chamber group, that was improvising together, to create something new each performance. And I hear a lot of cross-over with contemporary music that gets put in the Classical category - so Wayne is as likely to take an idea from Sibelius as he is from Miles or Monk.

    I must say that I like idea of Jazz being taken "as seriously" as any other contemporary perfroming art - but it's not for everyone - so I love it that contemporary classical composer will write pieces for Dave Holland or any modern Jazz artist.

    To get back to the gig, anyway - there was a concession to standard Jazz performance practices at the very end of the set. So Wayne played Miles' "All Blues" with references to "Blue in Green" on Soprano Sax and the band played a sublime version - which had melody and even "discernible solos" - it finshed with Patuitucci soloing very quietly and drew huge applause! But I had the feeling the audience were saying - why couldn't they all have been like that??!!

    I must say that I'm glad to have seen one of the elder statesmen of Jazz still playing great music and making no real "concessions" - he's still doing it an not just going through the motions, playing repertory like Wynton, for example or anything other than what he really wants to!
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Agreed. And he's at a point in his career where he can afford to do that. As for the Wynton comment, I'm also not touching that.
  9. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I saw Shorter a few years ago playing duo with Herbie Hancock. Shorter was absolutely stellar. Hancock wasn't.

    If you have a chance to see Wayne Shorter, you MUST not miss it.

    Edit after having actually read the thread: personally I put a lot of Shorter's new music (and a lot of the new music post-Ornette) into a category called "new music". A lot of it is not what I think of as a jazz. That's not a problem for me, BTW. It just ain't much like what Basie, or Bird, or even Trane put down.

    In terms of still-performing jazz masters, I also had the chance about 10 years ago to see Sonny Rollins. Interesting compare and contrast with Shorter. Shorter's much more the composer, the "artiste with something important to say", which leads to some of the results Chris picks up on, IMO. New and different because it HAS to be new and different. Rollins, on the other hand, brought a pretty lousy band of mostly young guys, but it didn't matter. I could hear him warming up backstage before the show, and the stuff he played in warmup gave me goosebumps. And once he got on stage, the band hardly mattered. Rollins blew for 2 hours and didn't repeat himself once. Absolutely full of energy, invention and artistic sophistication. All very much in the jazz tradition, yet at the same time completely new and masterful.

    At the time, I would have nominated Rollins as the anti-Wynton. I still might.

    Does Rollins still gig now and then?
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think I'd always rather see a Jazz band where all the players are equal partners rather than as you mention, a star soloist like Rollins with a pickup band who are "subserviant" ....:meh:

    I liked the Shorter quartet because you could shut your eyes and focus on any one of the players and they were doing something interesting - so Blade wasn't confined to keeping time and playing a groove - he was always adding to the music. Same with Patitucci - he even played high bowed lines at times that were like a string "section". Then occasionally I would hear things from Perez and think - I have to follow him and try to hear what's going on there. etc etc.

    I think it makes the whole experience richer as you can listen to different things each time - as a bass player, I am all in favour of this approach - although if Rollins needed somebody to play simple grooves for 2 hours, I'm sure none of us would be turning him down!! ;)
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Sorry, can't name names re who Rollins brought to Winnipeg about a decade ago (a little less, maybe.)

    I unfairly characterized the whole lot as "bad" (in the original sense of the word "bad".) What I specifically remember about them is this: I liked the trombone player (but I always like the trombone player, it's my favorite horn hands down), and the bass player didn't know a lot of the tunes. "Didn't know the tunes" as in missing the changes, playing hesitantly, and not soloing too impressively. The rest I have zero memory of.

    Rollins was a volcano to their Bic lighter.

    So, those in the know, do you still get a chance to hear him around NYC (or wherever) these days?
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    If you mean the Shorter quartet here - I agree, I think I said this somewhere else - another thread on this.

    I like Plugged Nickel and as Wayne was playing on this, there's no surprise (although I suppose it may be seen as a backward move) when he returned to an acoustic format he also returned to this as a reference point.

    Over the last week or so I have met up with more and more people who were at the Brighton concert - as I have been to classes, played Jams etc. Nearly all of them have said they didn't like it - found it boring, no melodies etc . But when I come back with - but there was some great playing and what about the interaction, etc,..... they all agree with me!! :confused:

    I think people wanted to like it and appreciated the musicianship, but found that a solid 90 minutes without any relief was a bit much to take at one sitting. I think that most Jazz gigs I go to are in more intimate, relaxed settings - at clubs where you can drop in and out - get a drink, chat quietly, move about. It's more difficult in the concert hall, where you are forced to concentrate solely on the music.

    So I think that people would have loved the same gig at my local Jazz club and I have attended gigs there whch were far more "difficult listening" - but at a large 2-3,000 seat concert hall it was too much ..?
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Maybe. Or maybe the venue had nothing to do with it....in my case, I felt like the way they were playing was almost its own style or genre. For the sake of argument, let's call that style "free". Sitting through 90 minutes of music where every song is in the exact same "free" style is like sitting through 90 minutes of music that was all of the same type in any other style. Would you want to watch a concert that was nothing more than 90 minutes of calypso tunes? Or ballads? Or medium tempo "businessman's bounce" swing tunes? That's what it felt like to me when I was watching the group. What they were playing would have been interesting if it had been in contrast to something else they just did before and after, but to play in that very abstract and obtuse "style" the entire time got tiring really fast.

    Again, this is not intended as a criticism of Wayne's music on any kind of moral level - just the opinion of an old hayseed who wasn't deep enough to appreciate what was going on at anything but an intellectual level.
  14. Well, just yesterday I read from a local newspaper that this bunch is coming to Pori Jazz festival next summer.
    Think I´ll pass the consert...for two reasons, being:

    1. the festival main concerts are huge picknicks for businessmen & like. Can´t see anything behind the sunshades/umbrellas, can´t hear anything through yacking & eating. About 30 000 people....

    2. got the expression that this is not the kind of music I´d want to hear during picknick, or share with an audience of 30 000....


  15. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    Saw Shorter w Hancock last summer and while I wouldn't go as far as Chris I thought it was a bit of a disappointment. No doubting the quality of the musicianship, but the approach taken by the band seemed to be to steer a third way between free and mainstream by staying just this side of free most of the time but being very disciplined, unremittingly abstract and scrupulously avoiding cliche. It was an interesting experiment but melody or thematic development seemed to get ditched with the cliches too much of the time. Not saying some people wouldn't like it - for all I know I might have liked it more myself given a couple of repeat listens - but I found it overly cerebral and lacking in emotional power on a first listen.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I can see your point and I think a lot of people had this view - so I think that Terry Seabrook - who teaches piano, leads his own Jazz bands and is on the UK Aebersold Summerschool staff, said something similar to me about "unrelieved free improvising".

    I was just pleased to see legends like Shorter and Patitucci at close quarters in my home town and for me it was a contrast with a lot of the other stuff I listen to - so I go to at least one Jazz gig a week and listen to a lot at home as well as playing whenever I can - so it was different, but also I'm familiar with stuff like Miles "Plugged Nickel" and later electric period bands. So whenever I put these on at home my girlfriend demands I take them off if she comes in - whereas she likes a lot of Jazz like Horace Silver and will come to Jazz gigs with me.

    I think most of the audience were audibly relieved when Wayne played an actual tune they recognised - "All Blues" for the last number of the gig and the band played solos like a normal Jazz band!!

    I think that as someone who spends a lot of their leisure time learning about Jazz, I was able to treat it as a "learning experience" - where I was interested in what Patitucci was doing and may think about incorporating some of that into my playing and elements of the free approach and how it works - so thinking along these lines - it didn't seem like that long a gig.

    Whereas if I go to an orchestral concert - Mahler, Bruckner, Messiaen - then I am just there to enjoy the music as I know I'll never play that stuff - so I enjoy the tunes, the huge contrasts, wonderful sonorities etc. for what they are - but I can imagine that a 90-minute orchestral piece with no recognisable melodies and little contrast, would be very tedious! ;)
  17. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    So, at the Brighton gig the audience didn't see all that knocked out by it?

    At the Poole gig, the audience seemed to love it, they got a lot of cheering at the end, and cries of "encore" :)

    And they did come back on and do one encore.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No, it was exactly like this at the time - huge applause and they came back for an encore.

    But afterwards and since then, I have talked to loads of people who were at the Brighton gig - all, I think, Jazz musicians and they said things similar to Chris.

    There must have been between 2-3 thousand people at the gig and I have talked to about 15-20 people I know, who went.
  19. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    If you've been listening to music long enough, you've had plenty of experience hearing something "new" for the first time. It's not always a pleasant experience. Sometimes it's unsettling. Sometimes it's confusing. Sometimes it's plain boring.

    If that new music has staying power, it'll find a way to speak to me somehow. It's initial strangeness fades, to the point where you can't remember the strangeness.

    While it's still in its strange phase, though, it can sound like meaningless babble, not fun to listen to.

    When it's moved out of its strange phase and it's STILL meaningless babble, or boring schlock, it's time to move on, baby. My rule in music and literature is that, if I believe I've given you fair time and effort to hear you, and you still bore me, you're gone. Don't care who you are. Life's too short.

    I'm not saying this is what I believe about Shorter's group -- I have no opinion at all on Shorter's group. But he'll get the same treatment as the rest.