Music: Composer and saxophonist: Jazz legend Wayne Shorter dead

Composer and saxophonist: Jazz legend Wayne Shorter dead

Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is dead. Photo

© Anthony Anex/KEYSTONE via epa/dpa

For many fans, musicians and critics, Wayne Shorter was a jazz legend. His compositions and his art on the saxophone brought the American many awards.

Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is dead. Shorter died in a hospital in Los Angeles on Thursday at the age of 89, his spokeswoman for dpa said.

Shorter was considered one of the most important and influential jazz composers and saxophonists and had received numerous awards – including around a dozen Grammys. The musician “shaped the color and contours of modern jazz as one of its most admired composers,” wrote the “New York Times”.

Born in 1933 in the US state of New Jersey, Shorter was already considered a “boy wonder of jazz” in his high school band as a teenager. Many of his friends called him “Wayne the Brain” because he seemed to take ideas from everything and everyone and combine them with his thoughts into imaginative interpretations.

career highlights

Shorter studied music in New York and was soon playing with jazz greats like Miles Davis. Career highlights included a series of duets with Herbie Hancock, captured on the 1995 album High Life. Shorter also composed jazz classics such as “Lester Left Town”, “Nefertiti”, “ESP” and “Footprints”.

Shorter’s compositions, with their penchant for certain chords, offered soloists ample room for improvisation without compromising form and structure, US radio station NPR once judged. Shorter’s saxophone solos, on the other hand, fascinated with their abundance of ideas and their ability to effortlessly return to the main melody after imaginative detours.

Overall, Shorter released dozens of albums into old age. The musician has been married several times and is a practicing Buddhist – which is what his music is based on, as he once said in an interview: “I want my music to make the listener remember that they are immortal.”


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