April 2006

Wayne Shorter Quartet | with special guest Brad Mehldau
April 5, 2006Massey HallToronto
Happy Head & Happy Heart
by David Fujino
Beautiful. Brad Mehldau set the tone.

His solo piano playing was insistently modern, and very tuneful and space-filled.

Mehldau played very much in the jazz tradition, so we delighted in the blues, gospel, and advanced harmonies and inner rhythms of his improvised music.

Like the hymn-like sounds of Keith Jarrett, Mehldau's music made heads sway.

And deep soulful feelings were occasionally framed in a crystalline European classicism.

But always, there was Mehldau's undeniable feeling for the blues.

After Intermission, Brad Mehldau's still lingering atmospheres nicely ushered in The Wayne Shorter Quartet, I thought.

The 'legendary' mystique of Wayne Shorter made us clap, but so did the exciting vigour of Shorter and his adventuresome associates.

The quartet played a lot of tunes from the Footprints! Live recording, but, of course, played them differently this night at Massey Hall.

Shorter's music quickly drew us into the subconscious and intuitive flows of life, while his carefully placed, skittering vocalizations further reminded us that he is an original and compelling stylist on the soprano and tenor saxophones.

It was beautiful to see the special telepathy between swift acting drummer Brian Blade, the driven ostinato bass of John Patitucci, and the ever presiding Danilo Perez on piano: they simply let the rhythm burn.

Especially in the case of bassist Patitucci, it seems that his mission — and pleasure — is to play the grooviest ostinato figure he can, and take us to the music's silent core.

Wayne Shorter (2002)
For an encore, the Shorter quartet played a piece that sounded like the bridge section of "Summertime", then it developed into a kind of stuttering blues — bubba-b-b-bad — with Shorter on tenor and Danilo Perez strumming the piano strings, right on to The (never-ending) End.
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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