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Wayne Shorter: Still Smilin’ Through

Wayne Shorter

In the foreword to Michelle Mercer’s revealing book Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter (Tarcher/Penguin), Herbie Hancock says, “Wayne is a transformer….He can transform, elevate and awaken your life…and he’s getting better and better at it. He takes you outside the box and into expanded possibilities.”

Shorter’s latest quest into expanded possibilities is the live Beyond the Sound Barrier (Verve), which captures the risk-taking chemistry of his tightly knit working quartet: bassist John Patitucci, pianist Danilo Perez and drummer Brian Blade, the same lineup that appeared on the saxophonist’s acclaimed 2002 Verve release, Footprints-Live! “We’re playing a similar outline in different cities, but we’re getting farther and farther away from anything sounding the same from night to night. We don’t have any mandates in this band. Our attitude is, ‘Let’s paint in watercolors, use good oils or get white-out, if that’s what you want to use.'”

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