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

Miss Colombia Wins Pageant; Miss Jamaica Wins Twitter?

Days later, bad feelings linger among the Miss Universe pageant viewers who believe that the wrong contestant won. Many watchers on social media say Miss Jamaica should being wearing the crown.
NPR

Watch 'Bob's Burgers'? Now You Can Eat Them, Too

What happens when you try to make a burger out of a pun? One blog, two years, and dozens of recipes later, millions of fans can now cook up their very own Bob's burgers.
WAMU 88.5

Drilling Off Virginia Coast Could Harm Neighboring States, Cardin Says

The Obama administration has decided to open up the Atlantic states to offshore drilling, a move that is not playing well among East Coast democrats like U.S. Sen. Cardin (D-MD).
NPR

Apple Sold 30,000 iPhones An Hour Last Quarter, Scored Record Profits

The tech giant sold 74 million phones in three months.

Leave a Comment

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