Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes

Wayne Shorter’s Abandoned Back-to-Back Masterpieces

Share on facebook
Facebook

All Jazz fans know very well, Wayne Shorter’s most notable years as a leader and when he came into his own was the 60’s. So then why were two of his masterpiece recordings completely abandoned and held back for 14 to 15 years? It’s a total mystery to me, no logical reasoning could honestly convince me, in any way, for me to accept the course Blue Note took in this particular case. It’s not fair for the listeners in any way and it’s certainly not the first time that Blue Note had decided to hold back a recording only to release it long after. Off hand, I could mention Tina Brooks and Lee Morgan who had this done to them as well. To add insult to injury, these two Jazz giants never saw it happen because they were released posthumously. There’s a list of great recordings that have been released posthumously because the artists passed away suddenly and that’s totally understandable. Blue Note was also known to hold back recordings because the artists were recording multiple albums in the same year, sometimes at the same time. Not to mention, they were also appearing on each other’s recordings as well, interchanging back and forth, creating all sorts of historical albums at the same time. The 60’s and even the early part of the 70’s were a golden time for Jazz and here I would sympathize and understandably agree, it’s just too much at once and some recording must be held back a few years. But to wait so long, 14 to 15 years, that’s more like a major miscalculation! I use that word because running a record label in those days was very challenging and not so profitable as one would think with the production of these legendary albums. Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff were not about the money at all and suffered many setbacks because they were more about the love of Jazz music and also more about keeping it alive. They never gave into “Pop” music and concentrated on real quality music that was played by the best musicians that ever walked this planet! So before you get upset, please consider this, these artists were way ahead of the times. Lion and Wolff held and kept Blue Note going throughout all these unknown difficult years. One would, of course, think they were very successful after looking through the Blue Note catalog now, but they were struggling all the times. Here’s a great documentary about them (BBC’s Blue Note Parts 1 through 6) that will put everything more into perspective concerning the difficulties they went through with running a record label in the 60’s:

History of Blue Note (BBC)

2 Videos

“The Soothsayer” features 5 original compositions from Shorter, as he is accompanied by 5 other legends, McCoy Tyner on piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Ron Carter on bass, Tony Williams on drums and the addition of another saxophonist (alto) James Moody. A true masterpiece that anyone could find very hard to avoid? Here’s more on this incredible album. Take a listen to “Lady Day”:

 

“Et Cetera” was just as innovative and by no means did not disappoint the listeners. Well, that’s when it was released, more than a decade after in 1980. By then Shorter was heavy into “Jazz Fusion.” This is why I argue the decision to release these two albums so much after their recordings. They became underappreciated and camouflaged by this new Jazz genre. They were never truly admired and appreciated, what a crying shame. As I mentioned before, as much as Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff tried to stay financially afloat and keep their label alive, they underestimated the “value” of these two masterpieces. Here’s more on this amazing album with just another Wayne Shorter Composition, “Toy Tune”:

 

The question: What was the reasoning behind Blue Note’s very late release (14 and 15 years after) of two iconic Wayne Shorter recordings, “The Soothsayer” and “Et Cetera,” why would they wait so long?

2 Responses

  1. Thank you Chris for the very kind words and I’m glad you are absorbing as much possible of this incredible art form they named “Jazz.” Aren’t we so lucky Chris, to stumble onto this godsend inspiration that helps keep one’s mind so “sane.” Jazz is the answer to everything and we should all “Praise” these magnificent human beings that devoted their lives to help us find a way to cope with all the craziness that is thrown at us everyday, god bless them all!! The least we could do is spread the word to everyone and of course, enjoy it further because it only makes us better “individuals.” Lets all become Jazz Aficionados and KEEP JAZZ ALIVE, but most importantly, spread the word! That’s what Jazz Con Class Radio is about and the listeners are the “Heartbeat.” Thanks for listening!!!

  2. Sure the Creme Dela Creme of Jazz Radio The choice for Connoisseurs palate. Not one yet but hope to get there with access to your extensive range of music, information updates and Education. Like the information on Wayne Shorter and the generous offer of the two cutsfrom Et Cetera Was Exhilarating. So we need you to be there doing the great work of keeping folks happy and at peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More to Explore

Klook and Francy

Kenny “Klook” Clarke and Francois “Francy” Boland are considered the pioneers of the “modern” Jazz big band. Their sexy cool sound had

Read More »

Happy New Year 2021

I would like to wish ALL you “Jazz Aficionados/Connoisseurs” and Jazz Con Class Radio fans a Happy 2021 New Year from the

Read More »

"I appreciate Jazz Con Class Radio because I love bop, hard bop, and related jazz forms. I especially appreciate Jazz Con Class because of the great range of musicians and cuts that are played. Although I like to hear Miles Davis play So What and John Coltrane play My Favorite Things, familiar cuts like these are heard too often on other jazz stations. Unlike other jazz stations, Jazz Con Class Radio frequently surprises me with great music that is not so familiar to me. I love it. And I also love the absence of commercial interruptions.

Although I am not a musician or an authority on music, I teach a Bop seminar for first-year students at the University of California at Davis. In addition to hearing the music, the students learn about the musicians and urban culture in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. I often play Jazz Con Class Radio at the start and end of class meetings. The music is a wonderful gift. The station is also a wonderful gift."

- Bruce Jaffee-California (USA)

"Jazz Con Class is a wonderful discovery. I never have to change it because each tune is selected so carefully. It lifts my spirits and at the same time teaches me about a side of music I otherwise wouldn't have exposure to. This is honest, real music and I'm glad to have the chance to listen to it."

- J.J.- Virginia (USA)

"JAZZ CON CLASS RADIO without question, is the very best net jazz station going. Its just BEAUTIFUL to look at all those LP's, they are works of ART. The SOUND and the ARTIST who are being played, just WONDERFUL Jose, many THOUSAND of THANK YOU'S for your LOVE of the MUSIC and creating this station with GREAT MUSIC in MINE, PEACE"

- Calvin- California (USA)
css.php
The 2021 "Free From All" Fundraiser has begun! Please help support against commercialism and HELP to KEEP JAZZ ALIVE, Thank You! Learn More
Hello. Add your message here.