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Saturday, January 26, 2013

CD Review: Wayne Shorter - Without a Net.

Wayne Shorter (sop/ten); Danilo Perez (pno); John Patitucci (bs); Brian Blade (dms).
(Review by Lance).
Wayne Shorter makes a mind-blowing return to Blue Note Records 43 years since his trail-blazing albums Speak no Evil and Schizophrenia, to mention but a couple. Now 80 year old, his playing shows no signs of deterioration on this predominantly live recording and he displays a commanding presence soaring above the rhythm section with the the swagger and panache of a latter-day Coltrane and considerably more lyricism.
The live recordings are from concerts on his 2011 European Tour. The exception is the 23 minute long Pegasus recorded in LA by the quartet with The Inami Winds. This is a totally absorbing track, contemporary, yet still within the recognised boundaries of sanity. In places it's almost a classical piece - imagine Mozart on Speed or Bartok not on Speed.
A strange choice is Flying Down to Rio - that's right, the old Fred Astaire number! Well Fred wouldn't be dancing to this version although he might, as I did, enjoy listening to it.
Shorter plays mostly soprano throughout and, whilst I'd like to have heard more tenor, I think this is undoubtedly a pinnacle of soprano saxophone playing. 
Perez is very much an integral part both solo-wise and in the important role of feeding Shorter the ingredients for the master-chef to start cooking. Equally, bass and drums do their bit. No mere time-keepers but adding their own individual lines to the mix.
Welcome home Wayne.
Lance.
Wayne Shorter - Without a Net is due for release on Blue Note on February 4, 2013.

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