Wayne Shorter, a saxophonist who was mysterious and adventurous and one of modern jazz’s most cherished composers, died on March 2, 2023, Thursday, in Los Angeles. He was 89. Alisse Kingsley, his publicist, verified his hospital death. No immediate information was available regarding the cause.
Shorter was a well-known player on the jazz scene in the late 1950s and is recognized for influencing much of jazz music in the 20th century.
Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, and Herbie Hancock were just a few of the legends the 12-time Grammy winner performed with. His spokesperson said he passed away on Thursday with his family by his side.
A consistent theme emerged in the flood of social media tributes: gone but not forgotten. Before rising to the group’s musical director position, he performed with the Jazz Messengers in the 1950s with Blakey, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard.
On March 3, 2023, Herbie Hancock paid tribute to Wayne Shorter in a tweet on his official Twitter account-
“Wayne Shorter, my best friend, left us with courage in his heart, love and compassion for all, and a seeking spirit for the eternal future. He was ready for his rebirth. As it is with every human being, he is irreplaceable.”
Wayne Shorter, my best friend, left us with courage in his heart, love and compassion for all, and a seeking spirit for the eternal future. He was ready for his rebirth. As it is with every human being, he is irreplaceable . . . pic.twitter.com/MRVfXhaz8T
— Herbie Hancock (@herbiehancock) March 2, 2023
Yet after numerous failed attempts by jazz great Miles Davis to include him in Davis’ Second Great Quintet, he was plucked away in 1964. He performed there with the renowned pianist Hancock. Beginning in 1959, Shorter also put out solo recordings, among them the highly regarded Speak No Evil, Night Dreamer, and JuJu.
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He had more creative flexibility when he was recording solo records. He started combining jazz with rock and Latin music, creating the sounds that his next band, Weather Report, would later popularise. 1977 saw the platinum certification and top 30 US charts for Shorter’s Heavy Weather album, which had funk and R&B sounds.
Shorter left the Second Great Quintet in the late 1970s and co-founded VSOP with Hubbard and Hancock. After Davis’ passing, the ensemble created the 1994 Grammy-winning album A Tribute to Miles. He performed on the Rolling Stones’ album Bridges to Babylon in 1997.
Wayne Shorter began playing the clarinet at 15 and was born in 1933 in Newark, New Jersey. Soon after, he switched from alto to soprano on the saxophone and pursued music studies at a university before serving in the US Army for two years.
In addition to his dozen Grammy victories, Shorter was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
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