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The career of Wayne Shorter spans more than thirty-five years, having crossed paths with many of history's indisputable giants of music.
Shorter went to Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey, and later graduated from New York University. He served in the US Army from 1956 to 1958; after which, he joined bands led by Horace Silver and Maynard Ferguson. Next, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. His five years as one of Blakey's Messengers clearly established him as a newcomer to watch because of winning the number one "New Star Saxophonist" Downbeat poll for 1962. He came in second place for best composer, while Duke Ellington came in first.
He began recording solo LPs in the early sixties, eventually cutting nine classic albums for Blue Note. In 1964 Miles Davis invited Wayne Shorter to go on the road with his band, which included Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. He stayed with Davis for six years, recording more than a dozen albums with him, creating a sound with a band leader that changed the face of music during that tumultuous decade. The group stayed together until 1970, when Shorter formed Weather Report with Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous.
Through his solo career and his work with Weather Report, Shorter helped to redefine the new hybrid of music that borrowed from a variety of forms, from jazz and rock to classical and electronic. He won the Downbeat poll on soprano sax after 1969 for 15 to 17 years consecutively and he continues to have many fans who will listen to him in any musical context. Wayne Shorter had reached the pinnacle with Weather Report, but took his time branching out on his own again.
In 1974 Shorter recorded a landmark solo album entitled "Native Dancer" on Columbia, which reached the top 200. The session included an impressive array of musicians like the Brazilian vocalist Milton Nascimento, Airto and Herbie Hancock on various recorded tracks. Shorter's talents were even in demand outside the jazz world around this time, as he found himself recording with top pop artists like Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan.
"Phantom Navigator," his third solo LP for the label, follows closely on the heels of Shorter's much heralded Grammy-nominated "Atlantis," his first solo LP since "Native Dancer" in 1974.
With the 1985 release of "Atlantis," Wayne Shorter reasserted himself as one of the world's premier composers and performers of progressive music. During his triumphant 1985 debut solo tour, The New York Times called him "one of the most significant composers and individual saxophonists in jazz, since he joined Art Blakey in 1959."
Wayne Shorter has won multiple Grammys - one during his Weather Report years, another for work done in the motion picture "Round Midnight," and one for his solo album entitled "High Life." He has received credit for feature saxophone performances in the motion pictures "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "The Fugitive." Shorter also joined forces with quintessential jazz artist Herbie Hancock to release their "1 + 1" to great critical acclaim.
For many years, Wayne Shorter has succeeded in intermingling the popular and the progressive, proving him one of most remarkable minds in jazz history. The quality of that juxtaposition has resulted in his reputation as both daring band leader and consummate modernist. Wayne Shorter has earned these accolades through his incredible ability to improvise for more that four decades, and there is no doubt that he will continue to cultivate it in the future.
Notable songs include -- .
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