Wayne Shorter Celebrates 75th

By 
Sue Auclair
November 17, 2008
Wayne Shorter celebrates his 75th birthday with a big night in Boston.

Absolutely Live Entertainment LLC presents the Wayne Shorter 75th Birthday Celebration concert on Wednesday, December 3, at 8:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston.

This concert is part of the Sovereign Bank Music Series at Berklee. Tickets are $66 and $46 and on sale now at the Berklee Performance Center box office, at ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 617 931-2000. For more information, call 617 747-2261 or visit berkleebpc.com. The Berklee Performance Center is wheelchair-accessible.

Saxophone legend and NEA America jazz master Wayne Shorter celebrates his 75th birthday year with his first Boston concert in more than five years. Shorter’s ground-breaking quartet features pianist and Berklee/New England Conservatory professor Danilo Perez along with one of the finest and most exciting rhythm sections in jazz—bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade.

Regarded as one of the most significant and prolific performers and composers in jazz and modern music, Shorter has an outstanding record of professional achievement in his historic career. He has received substantial recognition from his peers, including 9 Grammy Awards and 13 Grammy nominations.

In the summer of 2001 Shorter began touring with a talented young lineup featuring Perez, Patitucci, and Blade, each a celebrated recording artist and bandleader in his own right. The group's uncanny chemistry was documented on 2002's acclaimed Footprints Live! Shorter followed in 2003 with the ambitious Alegria, an expanded vision for large ensemble, which earned him a Grammy. The quartet then released another live recording, Beyond the Sound Barrier.

Born August 25, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, Shorter attended Arts High School and later graduated from New York University. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958, after which he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. His five-year tenure as one of Blakey's Messengers clearly established him as a newcomer to watch and earned him the New Star Saxophonist award in the 1962 Down Beat poll. That same year he came in second place for Best Composer, behind Duke Ellington.

In 1964 Miles Davis invited Shorter to go on the road with his band, which included Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter. He stayed with Davis for six years, recording a dozen albums and creating a new sound.

In 1970, Shorter co-founded the group Weather Report with keyboardist and fellow Davis alumnus Joe Zawinul. It remained the premier fusion group through the '70s and into the early '80s before disbanding in 1985 after 16 acclaimed recordings, including 1980's Grammy-winning double-live LP set 8:30. Shorter formed his own group in 1986 and produced a succession of electric jazz albums for the Columbia label. He reemerged on the Verve label with 1995's High Life, and then released 1+1, an intimate duet recording with Hancock.

Shorter has received credit for saxophone performances in the motion picture soundtracks Glengarry Glen Ross, The Fugitive, and Losing Isaiah. He was commissioned to write a highly acclaimed piece for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Millennium Concert. Most recently, Shorter was commissioned by the La Jolla Music Society to compose a piece for the Imani Winds Ensemble, further solidifying his place as one of the most important composers of the 20th century and beyond.

Through his musicianship and compositions, Shorter has radically changed modern music and influenced generations of countless other musicians and composers. The events in his incredible life's journey have been compiled by author Michelle Mercer in Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter.

The 2008-2009 Sovereign Bank Music Series at Berklee presents eight concerts featuring Eva Ayllón, Wayne Shorter, Mint Condition, Philip Bailey, and more. Many of these artists will perform with Berklee students, faculty, or alumni, showcasing Berklee's own heavy-hitters alongside the best of contemporary folk, jazz, Latin, pop, and r&b.