Wayne Shorter an influential jazz innovator whose lyrical, complex jazz compositions and pioneering saxophone playing sounded through more than half a century of American music, has died. He was 89.
Shorter died Thursday in Los Angeles, a representative for the musician said. No cause of death was given.
Shorter, a tenor saxophonist, made his debut in 1959 and would go on to be a foundational member of two of the most seminal jazz groups: Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Miles Davis Quintet. Over the next eight decades, Shorter’s wide-spanning collaborations would include co-founding the ’70s fusion band Weather Report, some 10 album appearances with Joni Mitchell and further explorations with Carlos Santana and Steely Dan.
Many of Shorter’s textured and elliptical compositions—including “Speak No Evil,” “Black Nile,” “Footprints,” and “Nefertiti”—became modern jazz standards and expanded the harmonic horizons of jazz across some of its most fast-evolving eras.
Herbie Hancock once said of Shorter in Davis’s Second Great Quintet: “The master writer to me, in that group, was Wayne Shorter. He still is a master. Wayne was one of the few people who brought music to Miles that didn’t get changed.”
As a band leader, Shorter released more than 25 albums. He won 11 Grammy awards and in 2015 was given a lifetime achievement Grammy.
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