Jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter has died at the age of 89.
The news was confirmed by official sources to the New York Times. Wayne Shorter is reported to have died on March 2nd at home in Los Angeles.
Wayne Shorter was born in New Jersey, initially playing clarinet at school before switching to saxophone. Infatuated with jazz from a young age, he served a short stint in the US Army before emerging to civilian life in New York’s post-bop heyday. Entering the club scene of the 1950s he quickly made an impression with his technical skills, melodic touch, and clear desire to entering new arenas.
Miles Davis sought out Wayne Shorter’s influence, and he became a core member of the trumpet’s Second Great Quintet. Joining Miles’ band in 1964, he worked on some groundbreaking recordings, blending the influence of the avant-garde with other post bebop streams.
His own work as a composer and band leader resulted in a string of sensational recordings under his own name. Developing a close attachment to Blue Note, records such as ‘Speak No Evil’ remain iconic moments in modern jazz.
A continual developer, Wayne Shorter joined with fellow Miles alum Joe Zawinul to form Weather Report, arguably one of the foundational groups of what would become known as fusion. Achieving international success, Weather Report split in 1986, with Wayne Shorter then returning to a variety of often thrilling solo projects.
A legend in modern improvisatory music, Wayne Shorter became living history – to witness him live was a portal to 52nd Street in the early 60s, akin to walking into those iconic Blue Note Sessions. He leaves an incalculable legacy.