Wayne Shorter On Jazz: 'How Do You Rehearse The Unknown?' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Wayne Shorter On Jazz: 'How Do You Rehearse The Unknown?'

Play associated audio

The New York Times doesn't mince words when it writes, "Wayne Shorter is generally acknowledged to be jazz's greatest living composer."

Going back to his days jamming with John Coltrane fresh out of the Army, Shorter has seemed to move, Zelig-like, through some of the most important combos in jazz — from Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, to his days with Miles Davis, to the groundbreaking fusion band Weather Report.

As Shorter approaches his 80th birthday, he's just reunited with the label that championed him as a bandleader back in the 1960s, Blue Note Records. On the new album Without a Net, he leads a quartet with whom he's spent more than a decade through live recordings and some striking new compositions.

Speaking with NPR's Laura Sullivan, Shorter says he absorbed a common principle from Davis, Coltrane, Blakey and his other great peers and mentors: They left their musicians alone.

"The six years I was with Miles, we never talked about music. We never had a rehearsal," Shorter says. "Jazz shouldn't have any mandates. Jazz is not supposed to be something that's required to sound like jazz. For me, the word 'jazz' means, 'I dare you.' The effort to break out of something is worth more than getting an A in syncopation.

"This music, it's dealing with the unexpected," he adds. "No one really knows how to deal with the unexpected. How do you rehearse the unknown?"

Hear more of the conversation, including Shorter's Miles Davis impression, by clicking the audio link on this page.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Dress Codes Are Open To Interpretation — And A Lot Of Contention

Recent incidents of customers being denied access to nightspots in Minneapolis and Austin have sparked conversation anew about the meaning and intent behind dress codes.
NPR

From McDonald's To Organic Valley, You're Probably Eating Wood Pulp

Many processed foods contain cellulose, which is plant fiber that is commonly extracted from wood. It's used to add texture, prevent caking and boost fiber. And it's been around for ages.
NPR

In Central America, Attempts To Cross U.S. Border Like 'Feeding Frenzy'

Thousands of Central American children are crossing the border and ending up in detention facilities. Host Michel Martin learns more about why so many children are fleeing Central America.
NPR

Twitter Turns World Cup Into A 'Global Sports Bar'

The Brazil vs. Germany World Cup semifinal created more activity on Twitter than any other sporting event had. Host Michel Martin learns about how social media has changed the tournament experience.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.