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Wayne SHORTER – Schizophrenia 1967

Posted in JAZZ, Wayne SHORTER on December 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Wayne SHORTER – Schizophrenia 1967

Jazz

The early recordings of Wayne Shorter retain a special place in the hearts of jazz aficionados. During his prolonged apprenticeship as a sideman in the 1960s, Shorter managed to outstrip such formidable leaders as Art Blakey and Miles Davis, becoming the defining conceptual catalyst in their greatest ensembles–both as a composer and improviser.

Over the course of several albums as a leader for Alfred Lion’s Blue Note label, Shorter transcended the long shadows of such important early influences as John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, developing an elliptical style all his own, and a fantastic repertoire of original material. These recordings, with their extraordinary range of styles and moods, confirm Shorter’s place in the pantheon of modern jazz immortals.

In a sense, SCHIZOPHRENIA refers to the split personalities of a musician capable of exploring traditional ideas and adventurous experimental fare with equal vigor, originality and musical curiosity. Dating from March of 1967, SCHIZOPHRENIA presents a mature combination of contrasting musical designs, from the joyous concoction of blues and salsa sources that mark his arrangement of “Tom Thumb,” to the oblique transformations of “Playground.”

On the title tune, Shorter begins with cerebral, celestial voicings for tenor, flute and trombone–impressionistic and serene–when without warning, Joe Chambers’ charged drum break announces a second, more angular theme at a breakneck tempo. Shorter solos as if he were playing all the accompanying instruments, building exquisite tension by alternating long intricate melodic lines, with jagged, repeated figures, harmonic inversions and calculated rhythmic suspensions. But Shorter is also capable of breathtaking tenderness, as on the gently waltzing “Miyako,” where his pastel ensemble textures, gauzy tone and floating rhythmic conception, inspire Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Chambers to constantly regroup around his melodic figures.
From CD Universe.
**
The last of (I think) eight Blue Note Shorter albums covering the 1964-67 era, and also the final purely acoustic set, not that it matters to me. Shorter uses altoist/flautist James Spaulding, trombonist Curtis Fuller, and familiar rhythm section mates Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Joe Chambers. The tunes yet again show forward movement, and though they probably aren’t among the first tunes one associates with Wayne, they are effective vehicles for Shorter and his sidemen. The title cut lives up to its name while conversely allowing the group to build solid solos that defy the song’s title. “Tom Thumb” is one of Shorter’s all-time funkiest efforts (of course, he avoids the cliched blues phrases associated with much funk-jazz), and “Miyako” is the latest in a string of memorable Shorter ballads. As a whole, the album is arguably not an essential pick for fans of this era in jazz (and note that some other reviewers feel differently). Yet is still an important addition to Shorter’s recorded works, with highlights that compare favorably to his all-time best efforts.
By  J. Lund.
**
Wayne Shorter was at the peak of his creative powers when he recorded Schizophrenia in the spring of 1967. Assembling a sextet that featured two of his Miles Davis band mates (pianist Herbie Hancock and bassist Ron Carter), trombonist Curtis Fuller, alto saxophonist/flautist James Spaulding and drummer Joe Chambers, Shorter found a band that was capable of conveying his musical “schizophrenia,” which means that this is a band that can play straight up jazz just as well as they can stretch the limits of jazz. At their best, they do this simultaneously, as they do on the opening track “Tom Thumb.” The beat and theme of the song are straightforward, but the musical interplay and solos take chances that result in unpredictable music. And “unpredictable” is the operative phrase for this set of edgy post-bop tunes. Shorter’s compositions have strong themes, but they lead into uncharted territory, constantly challenging the musicians and the listener. Schizophrenia crackles with the excitement of Shorter and his colleagues trying to balance the two extremes.
**
Wayne Shorter- Saxophone, (Tenor)
James Spaulding- Flute, Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano)
Curtis Fuller- Trombone
Herbie Hancock- Piano
Ron Carter- Bass
Joe Chambers- Drums
**
A1. Tom Thumb 6:15
Written-By – Wayne Shorter
A2. Go 4:52
Written-By – Wayne Shorter
A3. Schizophrenia 6:59
Written-By – Wayne Shorter
B1. Kryptonite 6:25
Written-By – James Spaulding
B2. Miyako 5:55
Written-By – Wayne Shorter
B3. Playground 6:20
Written-By – Wayne Shorter
**

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