Photo: Tom Beetz

Jazz Legend Wayne Shorter: Dead At 89

On Thursday (3.02) surrounded by family at a Los Angeles hospital, influential Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist and composer, Wayne Shorter, passed away at the age of 89.

Taking to social media, fellow Grammy-award winning Jazz musician Herbie Hancock paid tribute to his dear friend on Twitter. 

“Wayne Shorter, my best friend, left us with courage in his heart, love and compassion for all, and a seeking spirit for the eternal future.” “He was ready for his rebirth. As it is with every human being, he is irreplaceable and was able to reach the pinnacle of excellence as a saxophonist, composer, orchestrator, and recently, composer of the masterful opera… Iphigenia.” “I miss being around him and his special Wayne-isms but I carry his spirit within my heart always.”

Responsible for shaping much of 20th Century jazz music, Shorter was born in New Jersey in 1933 and rose to fame in 1959 as part of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before joining Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet. Wayne subsequently released solo records, founded the jazz fusion band, Weather Report, and worked with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana and Steely Dan. 

In 2015, Shorter received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy, the Polar Music Prize in 2017, and a Kennedy Center Honor in 2018. 

In a statement about the iconic musician, president of Shorter’s label Blue Note Records, Don Was said “Maestro Wayne Shorter was our hero, guru, and beautiful friend. His music possessed a spirit that came from somewhere way, way beyond and made this world a much better place.” “Likewise, his warmth and wisdom enriched the lives of everyone who knew him. Thankfully, the work he left behind will stay with us forever.”

Shorter is survived by his wife Carolina, daughters Miyako and Mariana, and grandson Max.

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Tom Beetz