I’ve been waiting for this one for a LONG time. His quartet has gone through such extraordinary transformation, becoming a thing that functions on its own, with its own rules. It is wholly different than the standard approach of “jazz soloists” who operate around a preset progression, head and theme. Wayne’s music soars above all convention, defying patently inadequate titles like “free jazz” or “standards” or “acoustic quartet” or “avant garde.” It is all of that and none of that and so much more. He is quoted in the New York Times:
“We have to beware the trapdoors of the self,” he said recently.
“You think you’re the only one that has a mission,” he went on, “and your mission is so unique, and you expound this missionary process over and over again with something you call a vocabulary, which in itself becomes old and decrepit.” He laughed sharply.
* * *
“We don’t count how much water there is in a wave when we see the ocean.”
* * *
“To me there’s no such thing as beginning or end,” Mr. Shorter said. “I always say don’t discard the past completely because you have to bring with you the most valuable elements of experience, to be sort of like a flashlight. A flashlight into the unknown.”
80 years old and still exploring the unknown. Like he has any choice in the matter. Check out WayneShorter.com for further illumination.