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Columbia Compiles Shorter; Plus, New Biography

Saxophonist Wayne Shorter should really have his own JazzTimes T-shirt. From his days with Art Blakey Jazz Messengers to Miles Davis’ second great quintet to Weather Report and beyond, Shorter has made indelible musical and compositional contributions to jazz. I hope Columbia/Legacy’s forthcoming Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter will elevate Shorter’s already legendary status and finally get him on a JT tee.

The double-disc set, a companion piece to Michelle Mercer’s forthcoming Shorter biography of same name (out via Penguin in December), will be released November 16 and includes a sampling of each era in Shorter’s 40-plus-year career. Shorter’s Davis-era originals “E.S.P,” “Footprints,” and “Nefertiti” have been canonized as jazz standards, so their inclusion is obvious, as is Shorter’s work with Joe Zawinul in Weather Report, also included here. A nice surprise is the inclusion of some of Shorter’s later session work with the likes of Steely Dan (“Aja”) and Joni Mitchell (her version of Charles Mingus’ “Dry Cleaner From Des Moines”). Shorter’s 1980s solo outings show up with selections from Atlantis, Phantom Navigator, and Joy Ryder.

The collection has a nice roundness to it and ends with some of Shorter’s recent work. 1 + 1, Shorter’s duet disc with Herbie Hancock, is represented here with “Aung San Suu Kyi.” Shorter’s current quartet closes the set with “Masquelero,” a live track from Verve’s 2001 release Footprints-Live!.

A concise collection of a vast career that crosses labels and features dozens of classic players. Can I get that T-shirt in a medium? Here’s a full track list:

Disc 1:

Lester Left Town

Speak No Evil

Infant Eyes

Time of the Barracudas





Mysterious Traveler


Disc 2

Elegant People


Ponta de Areia


Dry Cleaner From Des Moines

The Three Marias

Mahogany Bird

Joy Ryder

Children of the Night

In Walked Wayne

Aung San Suu Kyi

Masquelero (Live)

Originally Published