25. Wayne Shorter: Footprints Live! (Verve, 2002)
When tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter assembled a quartet of young musicians in the early 2000s—including pianist Danilo Pérez, drummer Brian Blade, and bassist John Patitucci—no one would have predicted that the group would still be going strong nearly 20 years and five albums later. Footprints Live! was the band’s first album, and Shorter took a risky but ingenious approach. Opting for no rehearsals, he chose to play his own tunes, some of which—including “Footprints” and “JuJu”—had become jazz standards themselves. He wasn’t retreading old ground, though. Recasting the songs in a new context, Shorter and his bandmates were able to take an exciting approach that wasn’t at all beholden to the past. The album marked a kind of comeback for Shorter, who is now 85 and recently released, with the same quartet, an ambitious triple album, Emanon.