3 LP on 2 CD
## 101 - 105 - 'EtCetera', Blue Note, 1965 (4.5*)
Recorded in 1965, but not released until 1980, Et Cetera holds its own against the flurry of albums Wayne Shorter released during the mid-'60s, a time when he was at the peak of his powers. It is hard to imagine why Blue Note might have chosen to shelve the album, as it shows Shorter in a very favorable light with an incredibly responsive rhythm section performing four of his originals and a cover of Gil Evans' "Barracudas." The low-key nature of the album as a whole, especially the title track, might have contributed to Blue Note's lack of attention, but there are definitely gems here, especially the closing track, "Indian Song." At times the rest of the album seems like a warmup for that amazing tune, where Shorter swirls around in a hypnotizing dance with Herbie Hancock's piano, grounded by the nocturnal bass of Cecil McBee and the airy structure of Joe Chamber's drumming. The short, repetitive themes and passionate, soulful playing echo John Coltrane, but this quartet has its own flavor, and the perfect, intricate web they weave here helps pull the whole session up to a higher level.
- Stacia Proefrock (All Music Guide)
## 106 - 107, 201 - 202 - 'The All Seeing Eye', Blue Note, 1965 (4.5*)
With such titles as "The All Seeing Eye," "Genesis," "Chaos," "Face of the Deep," and "Mephistopheles," it is clear from the start that the music on this CD reissue is not basic bop and blues. Wayne Shorter (who composed four of the five originals) picked an all-star cast (trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, altoist James Spaulding, trombonist Grachan Moncur III, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Joe Chambers, along with brother Alan Shorter on flьgelhorn for the final song) to perform and interpret the dramatic selections, and their brand of controlled freedom has plenty of subtle surprises. This is stimulating music that still sounds fresh over three decades later.
- Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)
## 203 - 209 - 'Adam's Apple', Blue Note, 1966 (5*)
With the possible exception of its song, "Footprints," which would become a jazz standard, Adam's Apple received quite a bit less attention upon its release than some of the preceding albums in Wayne Shorter's catalog. That is a shame because it really does rank with the best of his output from this incredibly fertile period. From the first moments when Shorter's sax soars out in the eponymous opening track, with its warmth and roundness and power, it is hard not to like this album. It might not be turning as sharp of a corner stylistically as some of his earlier works, like Speak No Evil, but its impact is only dulled by the fact that Shorter has already arrived at the peak of his powers. Taken in isolation, this is one of the great works of mid-'60s jazz, but when Shorter has already achieved a unique performance style, compositional excellence, and a perfectly balanced relationship with his sidemen, it is hard to be impressed by the fact that he manages to continue to do these things album after album. But Shorter does shine here, while allowing strong players like Herbie Hancock to also have their place in the sun. Especially hypnotic are two very different songs, the ballad "Teru" and Shorter's tribute to John Coltrane, "Chief Crazy Horse," both of which also allow Hancock a chance to show what he could do.
- Stacia Proefrock (All Music Guide)
========= from the cover ==========
Born August 25, 1933, Wayne Shorter did not pick up an instrument until he was sixteen when he started to play the clarinet to placate his father. A quick learner, he soon became fascinated with music and with the reed family, receiving a saxophone the next year. After graduating from the Newark High School of Music and Art, where he had majored in art and minored in music, he went to New York University, ultimately obtaining a degree in music education. It was during those early college years that the new music known as be-bop and most particularly the work of Thelonious Monk began to catch Wayne's ear and imagination. By the time he graduated in 1956, he was already sitting in with the likes of Donald Byrd and Horace Silver. The US Army took the next two years of his life. By 1 959, Shorter was a composer and arranger and saxophonist to be reckoned with. He had secured a chair in Maynard Ferguson's orchestra, which also included Slide Hampton and Joe Zawinul at that time. He made friends with John Coltrane, and the two would often get together in private to play and discuss concepts together. Trane and Lee Morgan were especially supportive of Shorter. Amiri Baraka (then Le Roi Jones) wrote a glowing, insightful profile of the man for Jazz Review, which was later reprinted in Jones' book Black Music. Trane in this same year was about to leave Miles and gave Wayne entree into the band. But fate delayed that alliance. Hank Mobley pulled a no show one night with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The Ferguson band was in the same town, and Lee Morgan wasted no time in wooing Shorter onto Blakey's bandstand. He became saxophonist, composer and musical director for the Messengers until the summer of 1964. At that time, George Coleman had left the Miles Davis quintet, and Sam Rivers was the summer replacement in the saxophone spot. In September, when Rivers joined Andrew Hill, Shorter joined Miles, and the music took a beautiful turn. Despite the brilliant young rhythm section of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, Miles' repertoire had grown stale. Miles realized that he needed fresh creative blood in the band. And Wayne Shorter filled the bill and turned the tide. The Music started to take more chances and foster more interaction. Suddenly everyone was composing new material for the band. Each succeeding album was a further document of their ever growing and ever creative minds, individually and collectively. In their Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Jazz, Brian Case and Stan Britt wrote of Shorter that, while with Blakey, "his tenor was a personal amalgam of Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, a coarse-toned and unbelievably savage rip-saw, playing weird asymmetrical lines. It was a little like being knocked down by a chess player. In 1 964, he joined Miles Davis and his style changed. He wrote meticulously precise structures, often modal, that swivelled and snaked... densely plaited unison statements that prowl like a wolfpack." Wayne's style may have been described early on as an amalgam of Rollins and Coltrane, but he was always totally his own man. History has shown that the similarities between Trane and Wayne were coincidental and simultaneous. Wayne's use of space and cock-eyed rhythmic phrasing did approximate an aspect of Rollins' style, but again it was different and his own. Shorter, after a few early albums as a leader on Vee Jay and many sideman appearances on Vee Jay and Blue Note, signed with Blue Note in April, 1964. Within one year's time, he recorded Night Dreamer, Ju, Speak No Evil and the recently released Soothsayer. His fifth date of June 14, 1 965 was this quartet session, issued here for the first time. For this session and his next three albums. The All Seeing Eye, Adam's Apple, and Schizophrenia, the rhythm section would be built around Herbie Hancock and drummer Joe Chambers. Chambers, a Blue Note regular, first gained exposure on the New York scene with Freddie Hubbard's quintet. He worked frequently with Archie Shepp, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson and Joe Henderson in the mid sixties and composed extensively for Hutcherson's albums. He has continued to pursue percussion and composition, adding the piano and the role of band leader to his activities in the seventies. The bassist on this date is Cecil McBee, who had worked with Wayne on Grachan Moncur's outstanding Blue Note album Some Other Stuff. He would later work with Kenny Dorham, Sam Rivers, Pharaoh Sanders, Jackie McLean, Charles Lloyd and Woody Shaw, leading his own ensembles from time to time. Cecil is pliant and quick thinking with a full and rich sound, well suited to the darker side of Wayne's creations. Etcetera is an insistent, haunting melody, like much of Shorter's writing. The rhythm section makes great use of space and surprise in the dark, turbulent theme that grows in depth and intensity as the solos unfold. Hancock's deep pedal tones are jabbing and foreboding. Wayne's solo begins with fragmented phrases that tease the tune's melody. Herbie's amazing accompaniment provides an uncanny give-and-take between the two men. Chambers churns out an almost angry variation of the basic rock rhythm. The piano solo moves everywhere with both hands working independently. Cecil's accompaniment, beginning with insistent double stops, is sensitive and astonishing in execution. Chambers weaves a moody, melodic drum solo before the theme is reintroduced. Penelope joins Iris and Vonetta as women immortalized in ballad by Wayne. Ballad writing may be the most difficult of all forms to accomplish, yet Shorter's imagination seems unceasing in this area. Hancock takes the first solo here and is in an unusually spare and meditative state of mind. Toy Tune is the kind of Shorter original that might have appeared in Miles' repertoire at the time. The tenor solo kicks off with a pinched variation of the theme and stays very much in the theme and variation mode of development. Herbie's solo is brighter and cheerfully lyrical. Barracudas is a lean line in 6/8 with a churning, yet suspended rhythmic feel. Also known as "General Assembly", this Gil Evans composition was written for the play "The Time Of The Barracudas." Wayne takes an outstanding solo with the rhythm section going wherever the saxophonist takes it. His delivery moves from jabbing to flowing, from somber to humorous. Hancock turns in a solid and exciting solo. Indian Song has to be one of the most cooking examples of 5/4 time. The tune is set up with Chambers and Hancock swinging with an irresistible gliding pulse against McBee's recurring bass line. Shorter's melody unfolds in three very unpredictable sections. The whole quartet creates a strangely atmospheric, but always burning performance. The tenor sax solo becomes almost a saxophone-piano duet with Herbie's active and empathetic contributions behind Wayne. And his piano solo is equally inspired with Chambers gracefully soloing under the first section, relying on the bass line to anchor the proceedings. McBee's one solo of the date is rich in technicrue and ideas. Wayne Shorter's current commitments to Weather Report in a collective capacity makes work under his leadership with extended playing all the more valuable. This date, allowed to sit on a shelf for too long, is another beautiful statement from one of the richest periods in this artist's life. As brilliant as his work with Blakey, Miles, Weather Report and VSOP has been, it is Shorter's Blue Note albums that give us the best and most complete picture of his genius.
- Michael Cuscuna
The All Seeing Eye
In addition to the disciplined intensity of his playing and writing, the qualities that particularly characterize Wayne Shorter are the breadth and cohesive-ness of his ideas and his thrust to keep exploring himself through music. In this album, for example, he has worked toward, as he puts it, "a wider range of colors and textures" while at the same time continuing his search for added dimensions in his ideas "about life and the universe and God." "The All Seeing Eye" depicts God looking over the universe before His act of creation. The eye, missing nothing, sweeps all over the universe. The structure of the piece, Shorter explains, came out of his attempt to feel how such an eye would move, how such a mind could be so all-knowing. "I didn't pre-plan the form; it emerged. The opening line-descending slowly-reflects the sweeping arc of the all-seeing eye. The first part of the composition is about God and the void. He is there alone, deciding what to do. The hurtling fast section represents His having made up His mind, and as Shorter says, "when a force as powerful as that makes up His mind, you get quite an explosion." As the fast section continues, it becomes clear how closely the background patterns and the solo improvisations interweave. "That's a reminder," adds Shorter, "that His mind is made up and there is no turning back. The solos, moreover, depict the machinery involved in the process of creation. Things are starting to happen." Worth noting on this and the other tacks is the way Shorter has used the rhythm section. "At certain times," he points out, "I tried to split them up. During the ensemble and lead parts, for example, there were places where I wanted the drums to sound as if they were off to the side while the piano and bass-on the other side- sound real close together. In sum, I wanted the feeling of the horns being surrounded by the rhythm section. Furthermore, I didn't want the drums to just keep time or the bass and piano to perform only in their expected ways." As you'll hear, each of the three rhythm section players make singular contributions. And working as a whole, this is an unusually flexible and resourceful team. "Genesis" marks the point of creation-the creation of life in all its forms. "Again," says Shorter, "I tried to convey a sweeping quality, but His act of creation is an even more cumulatively emotional experience than that survey of the void and His coming to a decision in 'The All Seeing Eye.' The first part is not in a consistent type of meter-because of the immensity of the act of creation. Then, however, 'Genesis' goes into 4/4 straight time to indicate that everything is beginning to settle down, routines are starting, patterns are emerging. There are clusters of starts, species of life. And over all, I tried to give 'Genesis' a feeling of open-ended ness because, once begun, the creative process keeps 9 "Chaos," Shorter emphasizes, "is what man has done, to a certain extent, to God's creation. The music mirrors conflicts, wars, disagreements-the difficulty men have in understanding each other. As for its structure, it moves-in its textures, in its use of time-from fighting with clubs and bows and arrows to the atomic age and beyond. You can hear, for example, the age of gunpowder being introduced in a particularly staccato section." After the churning, splintering conflict of "Chaos," "Face Of The Deep" is God reflecting on what He has created and on what man has done within that creation. "The piece," says Shorter, "is pensive, and being in minor, it may not sound as if it's very hopeful since we're accustomed to hearing hope in music in major scales and chords. But actually, 'Face Of The Deep' is hopeful. As you'll hear, it doesn't really end in the usual sense. At the close, I tried to keep away from traditional cadences. The indication is that we don't know what will happen and therefore there is still hope. Also the sounds in this piece are straight out because in that way I wanted to "indicate that God's thought processes are so powerful that He can overcome all of the goofs of man and some of the goofs may be His too - end that possibility is raised in 'Chaos' as well-I mean that if He had wanted to create a world without conflict, He could have done it." "Mephistopheles" is by Alan Shorter, Wayne's brother, and in it, Al takes his only solo in the set. "'Mephistopheles' is saying musically," Wayne notes, "is that all during creation -I don't know about before Genesis-the Devil has been walking many planets. He's been around all the time. I'm glad my brother wrote this because after you hear all the other music that has preceded this composition, you are suddenly reminded of the Devil's presence. And you snap your heard to the right and to the left to ask 'where is he?' He's there, he's here, he's in the shadows. Listen to the tapping in the piece. There you are, marveling at the wonders of the universe, and all of a sudden you feel a tap on your shoulder, lisa light tap, but it goes to the bottom of your feet because the Devil's touch is so cold. His impact is so terrifying. He's nothing like you've ever seen before so the basic fine in this piece connotes raucousness, rawness. It's asymmetrical. The melody moves in an unpredictable way because the Devil is unpredictable. He may show up in the form of a woman or something else. "At the end," Shorter concludes, "that loud, high climax can be taken as a scream. If you consort with the Devil and are fooled by his unpredictability, that scream is a measure of the price you pay. He finally reveals himself for what he is, and you are consigned to an eternity of torture, of fire and brimstone. "From the brooding beginning of "The All Seeing Eye" to the ominous "Mephistopheles," the musicians Wayne Shorter chose for this journey into cosmology and beyond are remarkably able to so unite as to give maximum expressive force to Shorter's design. At the same time, each provides a forceful, personal sound and conception to his adventure. There is the bright, piercing clarity of Freddie Hubbard and his quickly searing ideas. And complementing Hubbard in the ensemble is the darker sound of Alan Shorter on flugelhorn. "Freddie was essential," says Wayne, "for those top notes in ensemble passages. He was the only one I could think of to handle those the way I wanted. And Alan, in everything he does-the solo and the ensemble work-has that constant sense of what makes for dramatic impact." James Spaulding was chosen, says Shorter, "because of the extraordinary feeling of spontaneity he generates in his playing. And Grachan Moncur settles things down whenever he appears. He has a thoughtful, measured way of playing." And the rhythm section, as has been noted, did much more than keep time. Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Joe Chambers provided acutely relevant commentary throughout. Wayne Shorter is already planning future albums. Not all will be focused on the kind of cosmic themes contained in this one, but some will continue his probing into himself and into the meaning of existence. "Once you begin thinking about the nature of the universe and the nature of man," he says, "there's no way of stopping. It's all so open, so without finite limits. The universe keeps changing, man keeps changing, and I keep changing." The persistent evolution of Wayne Shorter as improviser and composer has reached another stage in this provocative album. Quiet-spoken as he is, Wayne is persistently self-challenging. He reaches far, and here he has reached into the central mystery of being. Some call it God. Some call it absurdity. But whatever the personal philosophy of the listener, the impact of Wayne's music cuts beneath intellectual system-making into basic emotions. And that is its durable strength.
- Nat Hentoff (the original liner notes)
IT hasn't been very long since jazz music represented just one thing to the general audience-the sound of the night life. The list of television shows which found jazz the perfect accompaniment for scenes of violence and fast action is too familiar to mention. Yet in recent years jazz finally has come to fill a broader spectrum of experience, even for the most casual listener. Curiously, and perhaps appropriately, this filling out of the emotional color wheel has come at a time when young jazz men have been accused of a monochromatic brand of self-expression. That such is not the case is clearly revealed in this set by the Wayne Shorter group in music performed with great subtlety and almost gentle underplaying by a collection of extraordinary young jazz musicians. For the last seven or eight years now, Wayne Shorter has been carefully, but surely building a career as a creative professional jazz performer. Recognition of his skills began as early as November of 1959 when LeRoi Jones wrote of Shorter in the Jazz Review: "He is, now, almost at [the] third ... critical stage of his career: the Innovator." More recently Shorter has been an enormously valuable member of the Miles Davis Quintet, a difficult assignment for any player. But Shorter has survived and prospered; early in 1967 he was commissioned to write an 18 minute orchestral prelude for the Davis group performance at the Los Angeles Jazz Festival at U.C.L.A., incorporating several of Davis' better known themes. His selection reflects an increasing general awareness of Shortens skills as a composer and arranger, an awareness further emphasized by the inclusion in this collection of five Shorter originals. To make the circumstances even more felicitous. Shorter has chosen a particularly responsive group of sidemen. Herbie Hancock's accomplishments over the last few years have been so numerous that it would take the rest of this brief space just to list them. Suffice to say that he works brilliantly with Shorter, the familiar atmosphere of their association in the Davis group enlivening and brightening their work here. Reggie Workman has long been a player too little appreciated for the scope of his talents. Joe Chambers has played in most of the new jazz groups, often under pretty extraordinary circumstances. Yet his work with Shorter seems to be filled with a special warmth and imagination. The remarkable thing is not so much that these are all fine young jazz players, but that they are individually and collectively mature enough to play with such effective "point" to their performance. Young artists usually are filled with the turbulent juices of early enthusiasms, but only the rare ones can channel these drives - reducing them not one whit in their meaningful-ness or intensity-into an expression which touches the many sources of internal expression.
Adam's Apple, the title tune, represents in its own way a kind of universal contemporary sound - jazz and the elan of dance music combined, an updating of the most familiar blues and a vehicle for the romping journeys of the pop parade. 502 Blues, the only tune not written by Shorter, cannot technically be called a blues. It is, however, a perfectly lovely line that retains the essence (and even the fragility) of the modern genre of late night, urban blues. Shorter plays delicately, framing his phrases above a nearly suspended rhythmic pulse, ending in a cascading passage immediately picked up by Hancock and Workman. Notice Hancock's touch, the way he almost lovingly coaxes his own sound from what can be, in lesser hands, an impersonal instrument. And notice, too. Chambers' sensitive accompaniment, a marvel of underplaying in an age of drummers who grasp their dynamic levels with rough hands. Another Shorter original, El Gaucho, closes the first side of the record. It might be called a sort of jazz bossa nova (listen for Chambers' eighth note figures) but its sudden and unexpected chord changes lead the players into areas rarely explored in the style's more popular form. Hancock's comping proves that a strong and individual accompanist can more than compensate for the absence of guitar. Back to the blues on Side 2: Footprints, another Shorter original, explores the six-eight form in dark, walking fashion, with some special Shorter chord alterations. Aside from Shortens predictably fine chorus, notice the crisp cross-rhythms toward the end of Hancock's solo. And listen to Workman's remarkable well-articulated lines (also on Teru), played with a clarity that might more easily be produced on an electric bass. Teru reveals yet another facet of Shortens work, the ability to write a highly sophisticated contemporary ballad. Shorter solos feelingly, his voice-like lines underscored by Hancock's moving chordal figures. Chief Crazy Horse reflects a trace of the affection Shorter still feels for John Coltrane, in a line that is filled with recurrent pedals and unpredictable harmonic movement. Chambers has an opportunity to stretch out, again demonstrating his understanding of the values of contrast and dynamic variation. That Shorter has the talent and technique to do almost anything he wants seems apparent. A great deal of his work in this collection is eminently satisfying on any level. But it is an even finer achievement in totality, since it provides us with such a revealing cross-section of that rarest of qualities, youthful artistic maturity.
- Don Heckman (the original liner notes)