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A Conversation with the Wayne Shorter Quartet: Interviewed by Renee Ro

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With WSQ playing in NYC this May, I've been playing Wayne Shorter all day in anticipation of the concert. I found this article online. Pianist Renee Rosnes interviewed the band.

04/10/13

Renee Rosnes

Over the past dozen years, saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter’s quartet featuring pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade has become a paragon of jazz’s exploratory spirit. The band’s must-experience concerts, with their seamless programs and apparent sense of collective intuition, boast the sort of peaks and valleys that only genuine creative risk taking can generate. Without a Net, Shorter’s first effort for the Blue Note label in over four decades, gathers inspired moments from the group’s 2011 European tour and contains six previously unrecorded Shorter originals.

This conversation was recorded in front of a live audience last September, during a JazzTimes-sponsored panel session at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival. It brings together all four quartet members and the acclaimed pianist Renee Rosnes, who played in Shorter’s band in 1988.

RENEE ROSNES: The quartet has been together for 11 years, which is quite an accomplishment. How did the band come together?

WAYNE SHORTER: Basically in telephone conversations and just observation. I met Danilo in Washington, D.C. I knew John for quite a time. He was playing with other groups. And I heard about Brian Blade. Someone said, “Watch out for that guy named Blade, man.” The magic came after the meeting.

RR: I hear freedom in what this group does, a willingness to go in any direction and explore. Do you think that mindset was there the first time you played together?

JOHN PATITUCCI: I think the influence that Wayne had on all of us, way before we ever met, was strong. The seeds of it were certainly there, but I think, just like anything else, individuals are not as important as their community.

DANILO PÉREZ: [it was like I] got enrolled in this galactic master’s program. I see now, when I look back in my life, that it didn’t only help me with music but actually made a huge change in my life as a human being.

WS:[Charlie Parker was asked,] “Why did you guys play bebop? What are you trying to do with that? Modern jazz, progressive music and all that.” His answer was he didn’t play this music to show off his virtuosity. He’s playing this new music, bebop—which is going to be something else later on—to be human. To be human, coupled with kind of a social movement without protesting in the streets.

I just heard somebody today, an entrepreneurial businessman, saying, “Small businesses”—and he’s speaking for a lot of people—“do business not for business, but because we want to change the world.” That’s the first time I ever heard that from a businessman. So that [term] “creative business” must be in there. To think creatively means that you’re thinking about not just the money but about the human factor. Human beings have to evolve just as fast as technology. The incentive to do things seems to be money, power and fame and all that stuff. I think there’s an untapped incentive that now we’re embarking on: We’re gonna step on this galactic spaceship, which is going to take us places and teach us new incentives. It’s called the incentive of the heart.

RR: I heard once that Louis Armstrong said, “What we play is life.” I hear a range of emotions in your music; I hear a lot of humanity in the music that you make together. I don’t hear a lot of ego. But the question is, would you agree with what Louis said?

BRIAN BLADE: I would totally agree with that. [With Wayne,] we submit to each other in this way that can build a community. You have to look to your neighbor; you have to look around you. These men are all about that. When I look across the stage, there’s a heightened sense of submission to that moment and to the potential to see that collective effort rise above your imagination. So I think that hopefully we all want that from life.

We have such love and reverence for Wayne, just for who he is. You look at the writing, his creative gift. For me it’s just perfect. We can just play [the written music] from measure zero to one hundred, but he doesn’t want that! He’s like, “Let’s just get away.” It’s interesting that he trusts us that much to say, “Let’s create something together, right now, with no script. Take a chance.”

JP: Also, the beauty of not being afraid to be childlike and be totally vulnerable, to take all kinds of chances. I think for me, and for all of us, that was so freeing—to be working with somebody who wrote such genius music who wasn’t captive to what he wrote. He had a light touch on it; it didn’t hold him hostage. So when we played, he was talking about “Let’s get back to the place, but let’s play like we don’t even know how to. Let’s be that bold.”....

Full article

http://jazztimes.com/articles/76472-a-conversation-with-the-wayne-shorter-quartet

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loved reading this article that I obviously didn't see the first time-around. talk about the "first time," I first heard this group when they had just gotten together. I was visiting in Wayne's trailer before and after their Monterey Jazz Festival appearance. all I actually remember was that Wayne was excited and Danilo was nervous as hell! after an amazing set, we all celebrated and closed the Grounds down!! (must have been before Wayne stopped drinking, which is quite awhile ago! LOL!) and, as they say, the rest is history. I've been privileged to be an eye-witness to some of their evolvement, personally and professionally, and I love them all, madly. (Disclosure: I've known Wayne and his family since the '60s in NYC.)

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Haven't read the interview yet but Wayne Shorter with the WSQ is sure something i'd look forward to. as well..

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great band!

.

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