Native DancerWayne Shorter: Native Dancer

The Songs:

  1. Ponta de Areia
  2. Beauty and the Beast
  3. Tarde
  4. Miracle of the Fishes
  5. Diana
  6. From The Lonely Afternoons
  7. Ana Maria
  8. Lilia
  9. Joanna’s Theme

Personnel:

  • Wayne Shorter – soprano & tenor saxophone
  • Milton Nascimento – vocals, guitar
  • Herbie Hancock – piano, keyboards
  • Wagner Tiso – piano, organ
  • David Amaro, Jay Graydon – guitar
  • Dave McDaniel – bass
  • Roberto Silva – drums
  • Airto Moreira – percussion

After over a dozen albums for Blue Note in the 1960’s and an extended stay in Miles Davis’ second great quintet, Wayne Shorter, (along with Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous), formed Weather Report. After a few years, he decided to release a new solo album, Native Dancer, on the group’s label, Columbia Records. Along with his longtime musical partner Herbie Hancock from Miles’ band, the album features several Brazilian musicians, especially the voice and compositions of Milton Nascimento. Some of his more notable contributions to the album are “Miracle of the Fishes”, a sweeping anthem that foreshadows many of the Pat Metheny Group’s later recordings and the popular “Ponta de Areia”, which was later recorded by both Earth, Wind and Fire and bassist Esperanza Spaulding. The album also features many Shorter compositions that would go on to become standards, such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Ana Maria,” (named for his wife). In addition, “Diana” and Herbie Hancock’s piece “Joanna’s Theme” would both appear on the Hancock-Shorter duet album, 1+1, which was released over 20 years later.

Native Dancer is a fine entry in the then-developing World Music genre that Weather Report helped pioneer. The camaraderie of the musicians, many of whom were members of Airto Moreira’s working band, (another founding member of Weather Report and Miles Davis alumnus), create an exuberant musical experience. The counterpoint between Nascimento’s pure falsetto and Shorter’s lyrical saxophone playing make this record a highlight in Shorter’s already consistently strong output. Having turned 80 earlier this week, he remains the leading composer and improvising master of jazz, with no signs of slowing down. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

Michelle Mercer. Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter.

Suggested Viewing:

Carlos Santana & Wayne Shorter: Live At The 1988 Montreux Jazz Festival.

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