Both BMI and the jazz world are mourning the passing of innovative saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter, who died today in Los Angeles at the age of 89. A player with a distinctive style, Shorter’s mastery of the tenor saxophone set him apart in the 1960’s as a name to know, and he was swiftly recruited as a composer for projects by jazz luminaries like Art Blakey and Miles Davis. Already a key figure in the evolution of the genre, as demonstrated in his music released on Blue Note Records, Shorter’s work with the envelope-pushing ensemble Weather Report was instrumental in the rise of fusion jazz, which helped him branch out beyond his initial genre to work with pop and rock figures such as Carlos Santana, Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan.
Shorter leaves behind a vast and important body of work that helped forge the trajectory of the genre into bold new directions. Ever searching to explore the boundaries – from bebop to post-bop to fusion to his more recent reach into avant-garde with his Wayne Shorter Quartet, Shorter never stopped writing and composting. A 12-time GRAMMY-award winner and a 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Recording Academy, Wayne Shorter’s impact was indelible.
He will be sorely missed by his friends, fans and family at BMI.