Wayne Shorter – The Best of Wayne Shorter (1988, Blue Note)

Wayne Shorter
The Best of Wayne Shorter
BLUE NOTE CDP 7 91141 2
Released 1988

I had a different blog post planned for today, but the world lost one of the great forces in jazz yesterday with the passing of Wayne Shorter.  If you don’t know why you should care about that, you can read one of his obits in the Old Grey Lady, The Atlantic, or the BBC.  It’s the kind of loss that has us checking the internet to see what other giants from that generation still walk among us. And there aren’t too many. The title of this collection is slightly misleading, as it only represents Wayne’s work for Blue Note from the mid-to-late 60s and none of his work as a sideman.  But, as the review below states, it’s not a bad place to start for new fans, and I would say it should be pleasing for old hands as well.  The mastering on this release was by Ron McMaster, whose work is considered by Blue Note aficionados to be much superior to the later remasters done by Van Gelder himself.  They were basically flat transfers, done attentively.

Too many great players on this tracks to even list here, including Lee Morgan, Herbie, and Elvin Jones.  The last track even has Sonny Sharrock working it out on the guitar with John McLaughlin.

1 Speak No Evil 8:35
2 Infant Eyes 6:43
3 Tom Thumb 6:15
4 Lost 7:13
5 Adam’s Apple 6:14
6 Footprints 7:25
7 Virgo 7:07
8 Ju Ju 8:28
9 Water Babies 4:53

Mastered by Ron McMaster


AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook

Although one can’t lose with any of Shorter’s classic Blue Note titles from the ’60s, this sampler is perfect for newcomers just wanting to get their feet wet. Covering the period 1964-1969, the nine tracks include highlights from Night Dreamer (“Virgo”), Speak No Evil (the title track and “Infant Eyes”), and Adam’s Apple (“Footprints”). There’s also the title cut from Juju (replete with a sparkling Elvin Jones solo) and the superb “Lost” off of The Soothsayer. With nice additions from Schizophrenia and the fusion-leaning Super Nova, that just leaves the long-in-the-vaults Etc. (one of the saxophonist’s best) and All Seeing Eye to account for. With more than enough Shorter material to dive into, and top hard bop contributions from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, James Spaulding, and Joe Chambers, these oversights shouldn’t pose any great dilemmas. Besides, it shouldn’t be long before Shorter’s entire Blue Note catalog sits snugly on your shelves.


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One Comment

  1. I like everything I’ve ever heard by Shorter. His career is too long and varied to summarize in one, or two, or three discs. Thanks for this one

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