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Wayne Shorter: 'Speak No Evil'


MURRAY HORWITZ, American Film Institute: Now, there's a composition into which any good jazz musician would love to sink his or her teeth. Hi, I'm Murray Horwitz, and that's the sound of jazz composition of the highest order, played by the very best instrumentalists. And that's why we're inducting composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil into the NPR Basic Jazz Record Library.


HORWITZ: Wayne Shorter had already made his mark as a jazz composer by 1964, when this album was made. It was a little while after he had joined what became one of Miles Davis' greatest quintets. His compositions were to be one of the reasons for that greatness. But Speak No Evil is sort of a consolidation of Wayne Shorter's compositional excellence. It's so thorough and consistent and wide-ranging. It's almost a manifesto for his ideas. Those ideas were new 40 years ago, but they're still fresh today.


HORWITZ: I have to resist the temptation to use too many adjectives like "moody," "atmospheric" and "original," but Speak No Evil is all of those things. At the same time, it keeps a classic jazz flavor. It swings, and it's filled with the blues, wonderful improvisations and terrific ensemble playing. And what an ensemble! Bassist Ron Carter, drummer Elvin Jones, pianist Herbie Hancock, and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, in addition to Wayne Shorter. How they play together!


HORWITZ: All in all, a classic and truly basic addition to your NPR Basic Jazz Record Library from five contemporary master musicians. It's called Wayne Shorter, Speak No Evil from Blue Note Records. For NPR Jazz, I'm Murray Horwitz.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Murray Horwitz

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