WASHINGTON, March 3 – One of jazz’s greatest saxophonists, Wayne Shorter, died Thursday in Los Angeles at the age of 89.
A well-known figure on the jazz circuit in the late 1950s, Shorter is credited with shaping much of the jazz music of the 20th century.
The 12-time Grammy Award winner played alongside several greats, including Miles Davis, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock.
He died surrounded by his family on Thursday, his publicist confirmed.
The tributes that arrived from social networks shared a common sentiment: they left, but they were not forgotten.
In the 1950s, he played with the Jazz Messengers between Blakey, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard, eventually becoming the group’s musical director.
But in 1964, he was snatched up by jazz legend Miles Davis after several attempts to become part of Davis’ First Great Quintet. It was there that he played alongside the prolific pianist Hancock.
Shorter had also released solo albums as early as 1959, including the acclaimed Speak No Evil, Night Dreamer, and JuJu.
Recording solo albums gave him more creative freedom. He began by fusing jazz with rock and Latin music, birthing the sounds admired in his upcoming band Weather Report.
Adding funk and R&B rhythms, Shorter’s 1977 album Heavy Weather went platinum and reached the top 30 of the US charts. He also played with the Rolling Stones that year on their Brides to Babylon album.
He reunited with Davis, as well as Hubbard and Hancock, in the Second Great Quartet in the late ’70s and recorded the Grammy-winning album A Tribute to Miles in 1994 after Davis’ death.
Wayne Shorter was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1933, and initially played the clarinet at age 15. He soon after moved on to tenor and soprano saxophone and studied music in college before spending two years in the US Army.
Among the dozen Grammy Awards he’s won, Shorter received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.