Iconic Jazz Saxophonist, Wayne Shorter, dies at 89

Wayne Shorter, one of the finest jazz saxophonists of all time, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 89.

His publicist confirmed his death to the New York Times. Shorter is survived by his third wife, Carolina Dos Santos, and daughter, Miyako.

According to uDiscover Music, like John Coltrane before him, Shorter was a key figure in popularising the soprano saxophone, an instrument equally suited to carrying a melody as it is producing eerie, otherworldly sounds. 

After cutting his teeth playing tenor in the hard bop scene of the late 1950s, he rose to fame as a central player in the evolution of post-bop jazz in the 1960s; through a series of solo albums for Blue Note and a stint with the Miles Davis Quintet, he departed from the chorus-verse-chorus format to explore novel approaches to harmony, melody, and structure.

Between 1970 and 1986, looking to expand his horizons further, he led groundbreaking jazz-rock supergroup Weather Report alongside keyboard player Joe Zawinul, all while collaborating with some of the biggest names in pop and rock, including Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, and Santana.

Shorter was born in 1933, in Newark, New Jersey, to parents Joseph and Louise Shorter, both factory workers. The younger of two brothers, he devoured comic books as a child and dreamed of becoming an illustrator. It wasn’t until he was 14, while studying drawing at Newark’s Arts High School, that he heard Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell on the radio for the first time. “My ears perked up when I heard it, and something must have clicked, ‘cause I wasn’t into music at all,” he later told Michelle Mercer in his 2002 authorised biography, Footprints: The Life And Work Of Wayne Shorter.


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