As the great saxophonist, composer, bandleader and NEA Jazz Master Wayne Shorter turns 80 years old on August 25th I’m led to simply remember some recent performances I’ve experienced by The Wayne Shorter Quartet. I’ve seen Wayne with pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade at the 2011 Montreal Jazz Festival, at the Detroit Jazz Festival in 2012 and most recently at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival, where they were joined by Wayne’s old friend Herbie Hancock.
The title of the band’s latest release is no flippant one. It’s Without A Net. Having heard the performances and talked to the band members, as well as hearing Mr. Shorter’s comments at a panel discussion conducted by former band member Rene Rosnes in Detroit featuring the entire band, I know that their intent is to make music by being in the moment with complete freedom of expression.
Since Wayne is a longtime practicing Buddhist he lives his life as he makes his music. The past is gone, the future never arrives and the way to make music is to “be here, now!” Besides enjoying the marvelous output of this great master we can also learn a lot about how to live our lives at the same time, while we wish him the happiest of birthdays!
Russ Davis began his career in jazz radio by creating a special program called Jazz Flavours in 1978 at WQXI-FM in Atlanta. Since 1999 Russ has produced and hosted a weekly program Jazz America for VOA. It continues today and is heard worldwide each weekend by an estimated audience of 134 million listeners. His latest endeavor is the creation of the world’s Modern Jazz online radio station, Moja Radio.