CD: Wayne Shorter Quartet - Without A Net | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Wayne Shorter Quartet - Without A Net
A magisterial return to Blue Note for the iconic saxophonist and composer
Truly an ensemble cast, the Wayne Shorter Quartet's playing on Without A Net - marking Shorter's return to Blue Note Records after 43 years - fuses disparate elements into something transcendent and utterly original. From the slow burn of “Myrrh” to the searching, high-velocity romanticism of “Starry Night”, two of six new Shorter compositions featured, the album takes small group music-making to another dimension. The uniquely collegial four-way dialogue has been developed since the quartet - Shorter plus pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade - first assembled in 2000.
Eight of the nine live tracks were recorded during the quartet’s European tour in late 2011. The one exception is the epic, 23-minute tone poem “Pegasus”, in which the quartet joins forces with the New York-based quintet Imani Winds in a performance recorded at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
The album is aptly named and alludes to the Shorter aesthetic which views a piece of music not as being a closed, static artefact but a permeable and ever-changing construct. This notion is immediately laid bare in the open-ended harmonies of the lead-off track “Orbits”, one of three tracks Shorter penned for the classic 1967 album, Miles Smiles (1967), and “Plaza Real”, first recorded on Weather Report's Procession, both of which the quartet casts entirely anew.
As a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis's groundbreaking second quintet, a co-founder of Weather Report, with numerous critically acclaimed albums as bandleader (Juju, Speak No Evil) and pored-over solos on recordings by Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell, Wayne Shorter's place as a bona fide jazz icon has long been assured. This remarkable addition to his powerfully distinctive body of work shows that, as he approaches 80 in August this year, his compositional powers continue to go from strength to strength.
Watch the Wayne Shorter Quartet perform "Zero Gravity"
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
The early history of the pop-punk wonders gets rewritten
A dive back into an under-appreciated phase of British psychedelia
Here's Johnny: the PIL singer lifts the lid on 'Metal Box'
The singer-songwriter joyfully hymns five generations of his family (and trashes Trump)
Are these pared-down, country-tinged arrangements a career junction or a wrong turn?
The director of the charismatic venue celebrates its history and its work transforming young lives
Has the post-Sambora line-up found its feet?
A slow joy-ride through the depths of the underworld
Historic collection of scattergun gags
Indispensible collection of previously unheard 1967 tracks from the great singer-songwriter
The Quo strip back layers to reveal rather more than you might think
The Danish singer-songwriter opens up about her third album ‘Citizen of Glass’