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


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I just got another copy of "Footprints Live!" from Amazon Marketplace for about $5 and change a week ago. The only issue I have is that the seller claimed it as "like new", the packaging and inserts are mint but the disc, though it plays perfectly is very scratched up. I may need to get it refinished but because I am staying with other family and not my own place I've been ripping discs losslessly to my HD and putting them away. I also got "Beyond the Sound Barrier", but that disc is absolutely mint. Why both are OOP I don't know, maybe Verve Select is planning a comprehensive set of the WSQ performances of that era? I wonder if they considered it too much if "Without A Net" was 2 discs?

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No, I haven't, strange!. It's a very long disc 77 and change, Gary Burton's "Quartet Live" will always cut off in the computer CD player towards the end of "Question and Answer" but it's fine in the PS3 and also when I ripped it. "Without A Net" plays fine in my PS3 and I also ripped it to my external HD. I had weird problems with the first copy of the 2000 digipack reissue of "Ascension" also. What I find strange about "Without a Net" is the relatively low dynamic range rating it gets at the DR database, it's not a bad mastering and done by Mark Wilder and Maria Triana.

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Haven't had a chance to listen into Shorter's new disc so far, but what arouses my curiosity is the notion that it reminds some of the first Weather Report recordings. Has any of you listened to Miroslav Vitous' 2009 disc on ECM, 'Remembering Weather Report', and if so, how does it compare? I always found it regrettable that W.R. strayed away that much from the free form stylings of the first two albums - if Shorter returned to this a bit it might stir my interest, but I'm afraid it could be somewhat too late ...

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This CD played properly in my computer, but when I put it in my car CD, it inexplicably only registers and plays the first five tracks, which makes for a rather short CD. Has anyone else had this problem?

I've only played my CD in my work truck and it ships on track 7 & 8.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The funny thing about the current group is that conceptually it started taking off where the very earliest Weather Report left off, just with acoustic textures & with Wayne as the "dominant" driver (or if you like, alpha Male :g ) instead of Zawinul. so it's not like nobody's ever even though of doing anything like this before. But those are big differences in how the results turn out and in what direction they've eventually gone. For me personally, I think it's a great way to think and play, to have reference points (i.e. - compositions) in place as reference points without ever needing to explicitly mark them out as you go along or even having them unfold is a set order, or even to exist as "this, now this, now this". You can have "this and this, then this while that but be ready to bring this in too, or to take it out" and so on.. Structural fluidity to the max. And that's not a really "new" concept either, but this group of players and this group of material does end up being quite unique and, if they hit their zone and the listener is in theirs, exciting. I get how it might be too "abstract" for some folks, but hell, jazz itself, any of it, is too abstract for a lot of people. Oh well!

So yeah, I've got this pre-ordered, and yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing it. I've never not looked forward to hearing what Wayne's got to say now, even if some of it is more gripping than others. None of it has ever been even remotely cheap or worthless. It's always made sense to me, both the "what" and the "why". So if I say that Footprints Live grabbed me more than Beyond The Sound Barrier, all that's saying is that on the former, we were more in the same place at the same time than on the latter, which is, of course, always as subject to reexamination and redistribution as this music itself is.

Good point Jim, I was talking about this with a fairly prominent musician who has played with Wayne and Herbie et al and he sort of was saying the same thing but emphasized he thought Wayne, with this band, was picking up where he left off with Odyssey of Iska and Super Nova a little more then early Weather Report but it's all pretty much the same. I have to go back to all and see for myself a little.....

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What kind of payoff? The kind where the jazz audience stand up and cheer; where critics proclaim instant classic? Does risk taking necessarily mean that one has to fail first?

One of the reasons why I like this quartet so much is that collectively they are more interesting and dynamic than as individuals. In some ways Wayne has the leader role that Miles once had, but on his own terms.

Any kind will do....but more of a live fleeting thing I guess.....the audience might stand up and cheer or just be too blown away in the moment to do anything.....

It's all sort of nice and flowing but if anyone is taking big chances they are certainly doing it within the context of that nice and flowing thing which doesn't seem like the biggest risk in the world to me...

No pain, no gain.....

Edited by david weiss
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he thought Wayne, with this band, was picking up where he left off with Odyssey of Iska and Super Nova a little more then early Weather Report but it's all pretty much the same. I have to go back to all and see for myself a little.....

That was exactly my impression the first time I saw this band live. Those albums (and 'Moto Grosso Feio') came very much to mind.

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One more thing...I've gotten less and less determined to have music as I "like" it in order to "appreciate" it. This in regard to some of the comments about certain players in this band...I've heard the group live just once (fairly early on at that), but, you know, shows circualte these days...and this music is all about making choices of the moment in the moment, and I've never heard any of the individual players make a choice that just fucks everything up, ya' know, brings everything to a screeching halt or throws everybody off so much that pfffllllttttt the whole thing goes. Seems to me that everybody is attuned enough to everybody else that whatever input comes is taken in with an implicit, deep trust, which in improvisational music is a much more rare - and ballsy - quality than might be imagined. Even "pure improvisers" have comfort zones...

Just sayin' - different players might make this band different, but different would not necessarily be better. Sometimes "it is what it is" is more valuable than "it's not what it should be", especially if "it is what it is" is what everybody involved collectively wants/needs it to be.

But do you think they are taking big risks? The kind of risks that have huge payoffs a lot of the time but can also result in big mistakes/train wrecks?

Yes? No? Maybe? Sometimes? If opportunity presents itself? Size of reward not always related to size of risk? Surviving is the biggest risk of all?

Exactly Jim.....

I think you described it well before I even tried to respond....

If any of the individual players are making choices that just fuck everything up, we are certainly not hearing it overtly in that way.....

My initial impression of the group was they all waited with baited breath to react to what Wayne did as opposed to say what Herbie Hancock did which was to create a mood for Wayne to play over. This created a stasis of sorts as no one really seemed to take charge or really even direct things but there would be these short peaks that would create some genuine excitement and then would quickly go back to where they started. They have made this their language though and over 12 years have refined it into more of a group improvisation thing that certainly has it's moments and is certainly more then that to those who find this sort of thing deep and enjoyable (to each his own of course). It's been 12 years and they have certainly evolved and taken the music somewhere. Since I guess we have all been listening to the 1969 Miles stuff though and I assume most here have heard most of that stuff from the beginning of the band until the end, for comparison sake (though not fair I guess), see how far that band went in 7 months time, how they morphed into an almost completely different sound in that short period of time in the course of finding their true group sound.

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  • 2 months later...

...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)

If I might inquire, did Wayne play tenor much (if any?) on this program with the LA Phil??

He's performing what I'm guessing will be the very same program here in DC with the NSO in September (I think), also with Esperanza on the billing.

I know I really should go, but ticket prices being what they are -- if he's playing soprano the entire night, I've got to confess that I'm a little on the fence.

I was fortunate to hear the quartet maybe 5 or 6 years ago (in Kasas City), where he played LOTS of tenor. I also heard him on the Herbie/Wayne duo tour 10+ years ago, but alas, that was all soprano. I know, I know, it shouldn't matter - and I wish it didn't (FWIW).

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One more thing...I've gotten less and less determined to have music as I "like" it in order to "appreciate" it. This in regard to some of the comments about certain players in this band...I've heard the group live just once (fairly early on at that), but, you know, shows circualte these days...and this music is all about making choices of the moment in the moment, and I've never heard any of the individual players make a choice that just fucks everything up, ya' know, brings everything to a screeching halt or throws everybody off so much that pfffllllttttt the whole thing goes. Seems to me that everybody is attuned enough to everybody else that whatever input comes is taken in with an implicit, deep trust, which in improvisational music is a much more rare - and ballsy - quality than might be imagined. Even "pure improvisers" have comfort zones...

Just sayin' - different players might make this band different, but different would not necessarily be better. Sometimes "it is what it is" is more valuable than "it's not what it should be", especially if "it is what it is" is what everybody involved collectively wants/needs it to be.

But do you think they are taking big risks? The kind of risks that have huge payoffs a lot of the time but can also result in big mistakes/train wrecks?

Yes? No? Maybe? Sometimes? If opportunity presents itself? Size of reward not always related to size of risk? Surviving is the biggest risk of all?

Exactly Jim.....

I think you described it well before I even tried to respond....

If any of the individual players are making choices that just fuck everything up, we are certainly not hearing it overtly in that way.....

My initial impression of the group was they all waited with baited breath to react to what Wayne did as opposed to say what Herbie Hancock did which was to create a mood for Wayne to play over. This created a stasis of sorts as no one really seemed to take charge or really even direct things but there would be these short peaks that would create some genuine excitement and then would quickly go back to where they started. They have made this their language though and over 12 years have refined it into more of a group improvisation thing that certainly has it's moments and is certainly more then that to those who find this sort of thing deep and enjoyable (to each his own of course). It's been 12 years and they have certainly evolved and taken the music somewhere. Since I guess we have all been listening to the 1969 Miles stuff though and I assume most here have heard most of that stuff from the beginning of the band until the end, for comparison sake (though not fair I guess), see how far that band went in 7 months time, how they morphed into an almost completely different sound in that short period of time in the course of finding their true group sound.

I don't think that it is a fair comparison (Shorter's 2000s quartet to Miles' 60's groups, in whatever configuration). Different leader, different personalities, different stages in lives, etc.

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If you drink a bottle of syrup beforehand, the soprano will sound like a tenor. Win-win!

I know, I know -- the fault is entirely mine, not Wayne's.

If the night was half tenor, I'd go in a heartbeat (even pay top dollar). But all soprano, and I'm a little iffy.

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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