Wayne Shorter, one of the giants of jazz and a wizard with the saxophone, was part of the genre’s experimental shifts of the 1960s and 1970s, spawning a new direction that honored the roots. Shorter passed away on Thursday, and we briefly look back at his extraordinary life and career.
Wayne Shorter was born on August 25, 1933, in Newark, N.J., and raised in the area through grade school. The New York University graduate and Army veteran joined Art Blakely’s Jazz Messengers in 1959 at the age of 26, later joining Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet. Shorter’s time with Davis was instrumental in him establishing his own sound in the presence of masters and using his formal education to great effect.
In 1971, the emergence of Shorter’s band, Weather Report, expanded the wide universe of jazz fusion and pushed new sounds to the forefront all with Shorter’s guiding hand. Some classic releases from that period include standout albums such as the acclaimed Heavy Weather release from 1977 and its 1978 follow-up, Mr. Gone.
Towards the end of his playing career, Shorter released several live recording albums, including the collaborative Live At The Detroit Jazz Festival album with Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, and Leo Genovese which was released in 2022.
Shorter was married three times. He married his first wife, Teruko Nakagami, in 1961, and is the mother of his daughter, Miyako. He married his second wife, Ana Maria Patricio in 1970, and the pair had a daughter, Iska, who passed away in 1985. Shorter then married Carolina Dos Santos in 1999.
Wayne Shorter was 89.