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Wayne Shorter's Without A Net on the Blue Note label


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Great post, Jim. This band is a well oiled machine by now, I went back to the two earlier releases (don't have "Alegria") and it is a continuation of the specific language and grammar they developed over the past decade. "Footprints Live" I think makes more of the early WR in conception you've talked about, "Beyond the Sound Barrier" went with things at a different angle (I need to listen to that one more too, it came yesterday as well) and this continues in that direction. I think "Without A Net" might be the most consistent record out of the three.. and "Pegasus" is a lovely composition. Is this music still inaccessible to people who want swing and something a bit easier on the ears? I think so, but it also provides a lot of rewards with careful listening. I gotta give credit that Don Was, with this release, the Aaron Neville (from what I've read and the little bit I sampled) and Jose James for letting them do their thing and not imposing commercial restrictions just because it is Blue Note, the brand name.

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Picked up Without a Net in a local brick-and-mortar store a few days ago, and just finished spinning it. I'm an old guy, raised on 20-minute album sides, and I seldom listen to a 78-minute CD in one setting. I was planning to listen to half of this one tonight and the other half tomorrow. Once the music started, I didn't want it to stop - I played the whole thing.

Many of the comments above baffle me, but hey, everybody hears things differently. Innocent me - I really didn't realize that Wayne Shorter was anything but revered. To me, he's one of those improvisers who can play a few notes and create a whole world.

There are a few moments on the new CD that are relatively pedestrian, but for the most part, this is music that is more than the sum of its parts.

Edited by jeffcrom
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Anybody else hearing a spiritual kinship between this music and some of Grachan Moncur III's things? The whole "moving while standing still" and/or flittering around/over/under/through stop/start but ultimately monol;ithic (again with that word, sorry...) rhythmic impetuses of the music(s)?

Maybe Newark=Rosebud?!?!?!?! :eye::alien::rfr

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have enjoyed reading all the above comments with the exception of Allen Lowe's predictably ridiculous one.

for me, Wayne is definitely one of the greatest composers of my time. he has written so many extraordinarily beautiful tunes during the past 60 or so years that take my breath away.

just came from Disney Hall hearing Wayne with his group, Esperanza Spalding and the L.A. Philharmonic led by Vince Mendoza. it was a very special evening. i'm also looking forward to Wayne's 80th birthday concert at the Hollywood Bowl this summer. my fervent wish is that he continues playing and composing for many years to come.

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Valerie,

I agree with everything you said.

You are so lucky to have caught the Disney Hall show! Other than the new piece, 'Gaia', which Esperanza sings on, what other pieces was she involved in? Did she play bass on any of the music? I was wondering if there were going to be any pieces with two basses.

Jim,

Fascinating theory about Grachan. A few years ago, I shared a cab with Grachan and Joe Chambers (this does not happen every day!). Grachan said that Wayne told him that after 'Fransenstein' came out, it totally 'freed' Wayne up - the implication as I understood it was that Wayne found new inspiration for his own writing in the freedom of Grachan's writing - I assume he heard other compositions as well. Something to really think about.

Bertrand.

Edited by bertrand
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wait; everything she said including "Allen Lowe's predictably ridiculous one" ? Geez Val, the last time you mentioned me it was to feign indignation at what you interpreted as a "personal attack" on you.

to be most honest, Shorter, one of the great figures in jazz history, is now fuckin' nuts and everybody knows it, even if they don't want to say so in public; and his music is dull, brittle, and predictable. Much like Valerie's posts.

and Jeff and I disagree all the time. But we respect each other's judgment (even when it's in error).

Edited by AllenLowe
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Anybody else hearing a spiritual kinship between this music and some of Grachan Moncur III's things? The whole "moving while standing still" and/or flittering around/over/under/through stop/start but ultimately monol;ithic (again with that word, sorry...) rhythmic impetuses of the music(s)?

Maybe Newark=Rosebud?!?!?!?! :eye::alien::rfr

I was thinking of Wayne's whistling and the general weirdness of "Gnostic", while listening to the quartet stuff and thought about Moncur, but not in *that* way. Very interesting!

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I always wondered: is that Grachan or Wayne whistling on Grachan's record? I thought it was the tune 'Nomadic' rather than 'Gnostic', but maybe it's both.

Would this be the first instance on Wayne whistling on record? A good source tells me he also whistles on the 10/31/70 unissued Blue Note session. I don't know of any other instances before that, other than mayne Grachan's record.

Bertrand.

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Fascinating theory about Grachan. A few years ago, I shared a cab with Grachan and Joe Chambers (this does not happen every day!). Grachan said that Wayne told him that after 'Fransenstein' came out, it totally 'freed' Wayne up - the implication as I understood it was that Wayne found new inspiration for his own writing in the freedom of Grachan's writing - I assume he heard other compositions as well. Something to really think about.

Also Esoteric:

Wayne was already getting to where he is now in terms of group sound at least as far back as Super Nova

More Than Human!

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Fascinating theory about Grachan. A few years ago, I shared a cab with Grachan and Joe Chambers (this does not happen every day!). Grachan said that Wayne told him that after 'Fransenstein' came out, it totally 'freed' Wayne up - the implication as I understood it was that Wayne found new inspiration for his own writing in the freedom of Grachan's writing - I assume he heard other compositions as well. Something to really think about.

An interesting story, but clearly Wayne can find things to free him up almost anywhere he looks.

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well, I once shared the back of a VW bug with Moncur (about 1976), not kidding; no theory about Wayne's progress or regress, except I do remember that he once scared an interviewer from Cadence.

I've shared front seats with Joe Albany, Al Haig, and Barry Harris. Strange that they were all bebop pianists. Didn't effect me stylistically at all. Though they all seemed to loosen up a bit while I was zooming down the highway.

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yes, envy motivates my criticism of Wayne Shorter; after all, I was this close to getting that gig with Miles.....

you see guys, it ain't envy unless the one who is making the comments pictures himself in the same position; if you can show this in my criticisms, then it is envy. But you think it's envy because you disagree with me; because by your standard I also envy: George Bush I and II, Kenny G, Three's Company, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Tea Party, Sarah Palin, George Romney.

so fuck you, blue train.

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yes, envy motivates my criticism of Wayne Shorter; after all, I was this close to getting that gig with Miles.....

you see guys, it ain't envy unless the one who is making the comments pictures himself in the same position; if you can show this in my criticisms, then it is envy. But you think it's envy because you disagree with me; because by your standard I also envy: George Bush I and II, Kenny G, Three's Company, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Tea Party, Sarah Palin, George Romney.

so fuck you, blue train.

it never ends.

Edited by 7/4
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Geez, I'm not even so much as implying that Wayne got his mojo from Moncur or anything remotely like that. I just found it interesting that two guys of about the same age who grew up in the same town found musical zones that share some conceptual similarities. Why is that interesting to me? Hell if I know, but it is. Maybe Moncur was inspired by Wayne. Or maybe they were both inspired by Alan, who was older than either of them, ya' know?

Or maybe it just ended up that way.

Either way, I like this: http://jazztimes.com/articles/14176-grachan-moncur-iii-some-other-stuff

The budding musician was quickly drawn into Newark's dynamic jazz scene. "There were quite a few jazz clubs, and every night there was a jam session somewhere," he recalls. Moncur also learned a lot playing in the Newark YMCA band where he met another up-and-comer, saxophonist Wayne Shorter: "He was kind of weird, always looking up in space at something nobody else could see. Even then he was quite advanced and had a great sound."
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Geez, I'm not even so much as implying that Wayne got his mojo from Moncur or anything remotely like that. I just found it interesting that two guys of about the same age who grew up in the same town found musical zones that share some conceptual similarities. Why is that interesting to me? Hell if I know, but it is. Maybe Moncur was inspired by Wayne. Or maybe they were both inspired by Alan, who was older than either of them, ya' know?

I appreciate the mention, if nothing more than to revisit the Moncur III Mosaic Select and thinking of the music there with what you've mentioned which I didn't realize until you did. Thanks!

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Valerie,

I agree with everything you said.

You are so lucky to have caught the Disney Hall show! Other than the new piece, 'Gaia', which Esperanza sings on, what other pieces was she involved in? Did she play bass on any of the music? I was wondering if there were going to be any pieces with two basses.

Jim,

Fascinating theory about Grachan. A few years ago, I shared a cab with Grachan and Joe Chambers (this does not happen every day!). Grachan said that Wayne told him that after 'Fransenstein' came out, it totally 'freed' Wayne up - the implication as I understood it was that Wayne found new inspiration for his own writing in the freedom of Grachan's writing - I assume he heard other compositions as well. Something to really think about.

Bertrand.

hi, Bertrand. i, too, wish you had been there so we could discuss our reactions to the evening. first, of all, Wayne has been having respiratory problems since being in Panama (also Danilo, his wife, Herbie's wife). so his breathing was compromised. but i still enjoyed his playing. the only problem really was with the commissioned piece and Esperanza's singing. she apparently wrote words but they couldn't be heard, at least by everyone i spoke to during intermission and after the performance. i know one of the reasons was that the L.A. Phil drowned her out but there were other problems that contributed that i can't put my finger on. it was at least a 20-minute piece and i think i heard about 20 words the entire time. not good.

the program with the L.A. Phil was:

Shorter: Myrrh (w/Quartet)

Shorter: Orbits

Shorter: Gaia (world premiere) w/Esperanza on vocals

Himel/Spralja: Vendiendo Alegria (arr. by Wayne)

Shorter: Flagships

Shorter: Forbidden, Plan-It!

Shorter: Diana (arr. by Vince Mendoza)

Shorter: Midnight in Carlotta's Hair (with Esperanza on bass & scatting)

i met Grachan in the '60s and even hung out with him a bit. interestingly, i met him while he was in a Broadway James Baldwin play which i had actor friends in. he was a very nice man.

Edited by ValerieB
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