Friday Musical Interlude

July 1st, 2011 at 12:07 pm


It seems since forever that saxophonist Wayne Shorter has been composing some of the coolest and most interesting music out there.  He was a member of one of the great Miles Davis quintets, he co-founded Weather Report, made great forays into Brazilian music, and is still going strong.

This tune, Fee Fi Fo Fum, is a particular favorite of mine.

A couple of things to listen for: note that the trumpet and sax play the melody in unison for a few bars and then the sax splits off…listen carefully for the weird harmony Wayne plays underneath the trumpet…pure Wayne.

Also, check out both Wayne’s sax solo and Herbie Hancocks on piano.  Wayne is such a composer, the way he chooses the notes so carefully, almost kind of testing them out and deciding, “Yeah, that works…”

And Herbie is so damn loose and relaxed.  Incredibly interesting harmonically, but never loses the feel of the thing.

Or better yet, ignore all that and just enjoy!  And have a great holiday weekend too.

(Back to Bach next Friday…a good friend was more than a little annoyed that I started out with the Italian Concerto and not the B-Minor Mass…I tell you, it’s hard to please the customers in this blogging biz.)


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6 comments in reply to "Friday Musical Interlude"

  1. Horatio Parker says:

    That entire album is brilliant.

  2. Mark Henderson says:

    I love reading your blogs but am even more impressed with your tastes in music. Especially Wayne. An American treasure!

  3. James Halliday says:

    One of my faves-the rhythm section (Ron Carter and Elvin Jones) is supernaturally relaxed-as locked in to the groove as you are to the pulse of the economy. BTW, this album has one of the most beautiful, pensive ballads ever written – “Infant Eyes”.

  4. joel fass says:

    Ditto to that, from a jazz musician and WS admirer. I would also recommend: Night Dreamer; Adam’s Apple (both from that same period); Native Dancer (heavy on the Brazilian influence to which Mr. B. alludes, with H. Hancock and, wonderfully, Milton Nascimento); High Life (1995, synth orchestrations+ live musicians, and likely unlike anything you’ve ever heard). A partial list given space limitations.

    Thank you, Mr. B.

    • Jared Bernstein says:

      Allow me to point out the Mr Fass is himself one of the more soulful and swinging members of the sacred order of jazz guitarists with roots going back to Wes himself.

      • joel fass says:

        Thanks, but I’m only beginning to get it together. And—Wes, Charlie Christian, Django aside—let’s not leave out our friend Eddie Diehl and the great Jimmy Raney as influences/mentors. Please check these two great players out, music lovers.

        (I also recognize the byline of one James Halliday, himself a powerful force on tenor saxophone).

        My interest in Wayne, BTW, is primarily as composer, my great passion and current primary area of endeavor. I do also love the looseness of his improvising.

        Mr. Shorter puts harmony, mood, note choice, rhythm, and what can only be termed ‘the ‘undescribeable’ together in a way that is as wise as it is new. (His music may go on some wild excursions too, but always is grounded in the basics and makes sense). It’s as if every piece he writes is the first one he ever wrote, but with the wisdom of a lifetime. Consequensely, when you hear it you are hearing something both fresh and very familiar. IMO Only a few master composers can pull this off.

        Finally on this subject: IMO to draw listeners in so effectively with music ‘sans words’—especially nusic of Mr. Shorter’s depth—is an achievement any instrumental composer ought to strive towards.