Wayne Shorter Special

I’ve been listening to a lot of Wayne Shorter recently.  His bluesy compositions and lilting solos help lift my spirits on frigid winter days.  Despite his long, prolific career he is poorly represented in real books, so in honor of Mr. Shorter my inaugural post features three of his tunes.  First:


This one goes back to Wayne’s days with Art Blakey’s band.  I like to have the whole band play the dotted eighths in the second ending, ritarding the last time into the F major.  For a more modern take check out Notes from the Underground by Medeski Martin and Wood.




The Albatross

Another of Wayne’s haunting ballads, this one from his album Second Genesis.  I get a Billy Strayhorn vibe here, I would love to have heard Johnny Hodges take this melody.



Oriental Folk Song

I’ve heard this one covered live by many bands, including Derek Trucks (he never hit the A7, my favorite part).  I usually leave off the rubato first part on gigs, though Wayne’s intros are integral to his compositions.  He claims to have first heard this melody on a TV commercial.  I wonder which product it was for…


6 thoughts on “Wayne Shorter Special

    1. noteheads Post author

      It could be notated as either 3/4 or 6/8, I wrote it in 3/4 because I sometimes give the chart to students who get nervous when they see 16th notes.

      1. Cliff

        Yeah I understand that for notational purposes 3/4 is easier to use I’m sure. But, in reality what I’ve heard it sounds more like Latin or African type of rhythm which might be more 6/8?

      2. noteheads Post author

        Yes, Art Blakey’s version of the tune is my favorite and he had a lot of fun with the 6/8 feel. The upbeats on the snare help to liven up a rather downbeat-heavy melody. Blakey never commits to one groove though: he slowly lowers the intensity by using less of those rhythms with each solo, sliding into a basic jazz waltz during the piano solo before building a great polyrhythmic drum solo.

      3. Clif

        Art Blakey was a great collector of great musicians. I also in like the Bobby Timmons tunes that he played.

        Thanks for the blog!

  1. Phil Levering

    Dena DeRose’s latest CD, “United,” starts with a Latin beat on the title tune, followed by a swinging piano chorus, going to 4/4 and back to 3/4. And, she has written some very interesting lyrics to Wayne Shorter’s melody.


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