As a music lover, indie record label co-owner, University of North Texas graduate, and husband of a jazz singer (Laura Ainsworth) whose dad was a major big band saxophonist, it gives me great sorrow to have to report that Wayne Shorter died Thursday in a Los Angeles hospital at 89.
Shorter was an extremely influential saxophonist, composer and arranger who was a founding member of the pioneering jazz fusion group Weather Report. He played with everyone from Miles Davis and Art Blakey to Steely Dan (he played the sax solo on “Aja”), Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell. Over a career that spanned seven decades, he was nominated for Grammy Awards 23 times and won a dozen, most recently in 2019 for Best Jazz Album for his final release, “Emanon.” He retired from performing in 2018 due to health problems, but continued composing.
If you’d like to explore his music, USA Today compiled some videos of some of his most popular tracks, including the jazz standard, “Birdland.”
For those wanting to do a real deep dive, Ranker.com has a list of his albums ranked by fans (but don’t necessarily go by that.)
Finally, Robert Spencer at PJ Media penned an appreciation of Wayne Shorter and how his passing represents the passing of a great era of American music, art, literature and culture, the likes of which are almost nonexistent today.