Wayne Escoffery, Music Director. Celebrating the legacy of Wayne Shorter (1933-2023), the legendary American jazz saxophonist, composer and bandleader. Shorter came to mainstream prominence in 1959 upon joining Art Blakey’s “Jazz Messengers,” for whom he eventually became the primary composer. In 1964 he joined Miles Davis’ “Second Great Quintet,” and then co-founded the jazz fusion band “Weather Report” in 1970. He recorded more than 20 albums as a bandleader.
Many Shorter compositions have become jazz standards, and his music has earned worldwide recognition, critical praise, and commendation. He was the winner of 12 GRAMMY awards, and was acclaimed for his mastery of the soprano saxophone since switching his focus from the tenor in the late 1960s and beginning an extended reign in 1970 as DownBeat’s annual poll-winner on that instrument.
The New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff described Shorter as “probably jazz’s greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser.”