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Concert Review: Wayne Shorter Quartet at the Hollywood Bowl, 8-28-13

At 80, the enigmatic giant is still looking forward

The Wayne Shorter Quartet

When all is said, done and historically accounted for, jazz circa 2013 will likely be considered the Year of Wayne: Wayne Shorter, that enigmatic giant, casting his vast influence through the Real Book majesty of his tunes and advocating the importance of remaining free and spontaneous in his own current quartet, turned 80 this year, and was feted internationally as a lofty jazz veteran. But he is hardly an éminence grise resting on laurels. A long-awaited and poetic, feisty new album, Without a Net, brings him back to the clutches of the Blue Note label after decades away, and his increasing interest in large-scale, classically inclined compositional efforts has found him embarking on such ambitious new works as Gaia, premiered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a collaboration with Esperanza Spalding (as vocalist) at Walt Disney Concert Hall in February.

As part of the Year of Wayne, and ostensibly in promotion of Without a Net (although the mystic saxman wouldn’t view it as such), Shorter has been making the summer festival circuit with a fascinating collective troupe, including his own group, abetted by the score-yielding Imani Winds, duets with his old ally Herbie Hancock, and the logical, Shorter-minded “support” acts, Sound Prints (the vigorous fine new band led by Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas) and the potent all-star, all-female piano trio ACS, being Geri Allen at the keys, Spalding on bass and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.

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