Planet Jazz: Notes From All Over
“Without a Net,” Wayne Shorter’s return to Blue Note after more than four decades, already is shaping up as one of next year’s notable jazz releases. The live disc, featuring his long-running quartet — pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade — on six new Shorter compositions and three other tunes, is due Feb. 5. All but one of the tracks were recorded at various European locales in 2011; the exception is Shorter’s 23-minute tone poem “Pegasus,” with the quartet joined by the Imani Winds in Los Angeles.
Now comes news that Shorter, celebrated for his stints with Miles Davis and as co-leader of fusion heavyweights Weather Report, is playing at least a half-dozen dates in the U.S. in 2013, beginning with a Feb. 1 performance at Carnegie Hall. There, Shorter’s quartet and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will play four of the saxophonist’s compositions as well as works by Beethoven and Ives.
About a week later, on Feb. 9, the group will give the world premiere of “Gaia,” a piece Shorter composed for Esperanza Spalding and the LA Philharmonic, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A. (where “Pegasus” was recorded for the new album).
The complete U.S. tour dates (so far):
- Feb. 1, Carnegie Hall, New York
- Feb. 9, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
- April 12, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville
- May 5, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
- June 7, Symphony Center, Chicago
- Sept. 26, Kennedy Center: Eisenhower Theatre, Washington, D.C.
- Nov. 2, Orchestra Hall, Detroit
Shorter will add to the luster of the 34th annual Montreal International Jazz Festival, with a just-announced 80th Birthday Celebration concert, slated for June 29. Shorter’s quartet will close the three-act show, which also will showcase the trio of pianist Geri Allen, bassist Esperanza Spalding and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington; and the Sound Prints Quintet, co-led by saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas.
Sound Prints, inspired by the leaders’ work together on the music of Shorter, during a period when Douglas and Lovano played together in the SFJazz Collective, also features pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Joey Baron. The group’s performance Wednesday night (Nov. 28), during a week’s residency at New York’s Village Vanguard, will air live as a videocast at 9 p.m. EST on WBGO and NPR Music.
Also announced for the festival, one of the world’s largest and best events of its kind: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis, June 28; and Aretha Franklin, June 29, five years after her first performance at the fest (fingers crossed that Aretha will make the concert, as she has dropped out at the last minute for some shows in recent years).
Tickets for all three events go on sale Dec. 1 at noon. For more information, call the Info-Jazz Line at 514 871‑1881, toll-free at 1 85JAZZFEST, or visit montrealjazzfest.com.
Speaking of Lovano … Another of the notable jazz CDs of 2013 is “Cross Culture,” from his Us Five group, with pianist James Weidman, bassists Esperanza Spalding and Peter Slavov, drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela, and guest guitarist Lionel Loueke. The CD, which comes with a distinct world music tint, offers 10 original compositions along with an interpretation of Billy Strayhorn’s “Star Crossed Lovers.” It’s due Jan. 8 from Blue Note.
How often does this happen? The top three spots on the national JazzWeek Radio Chart are occupied by albums released on the same label, HighNote Records. Pianist George Cables‘ “My Muse” has been No. 1 for five weeks. The others are tenor saxophonist Houston Person‘s “Naturally,” at No. 2, and pianist Harold Mabern‘s “Mr. Lucky: A Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr.,” at No. 3.