SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

“Mysterious Shorter” (The New York Sessions) – Chesky

Trumpeter Nicholas Payton and saxist Bob Belden lead this exploration of Wayne Shorter's music

Published on March 1, 2007

“Mysterious Shorter” (The New York Sessions) – Chesky
“Mysterious Shorter” (The New York Sessions) – Chesky Multichannel SACD 321, 60 min. ****:

(Nicholas Payton, trumpet; Bob Belden, tenor & soprano sax; Sam Yahel, Hammond B3; John Hart, Electric guitar; Billy Drummond, drums)

This is the latest in Chesky’s series of jazz sessions with top New York jazz artists. this one is an investigation and exploration of the groove music of Wayne Shorter – one of the most important saxists and composer in jazz today. He played in Miles quintets in the 60s and was instrumental in the top fusion group Weather Report.  His original music is noted for its use of pentatonic melodies and complex harmonies as well as more open space and rests than players such as Coltrane.

Arranger Bob Belden plays both tenor and soprano, as does Shorter.  He has arranged for jazz ensembles for many years and has had as his theme such music as Puccini’s Turandot, Rachmaninoff, Bach, the Beatles and Sting, but he says this is the first time has covered a jazz guy!  The opera reference is interesting because Belden feels that is “the only form of music that truly expresses the magnitude of human life using music as its primary form of inspiration.” Belden selected the more funky tunes of Shorter which would work well with the B3 organ in the group. The eight tracks list in the note booklet which Shorter albums they originally came from.

I don’t lean strongly toward the fusion genre, but Shorter’s melodic and harmonic structures have so much more depth and density than most fusion jazz that these tracks still work for me. Fusion fans will go wild.  Good immersing sounds too.

TrackList: Montezuma, Tom Thumb, Footprints, Teru, Witch Hunt, Masqalero, Beauty and the Beast, Miyako.

 – John Henry

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