Wayne Shorter: Condition Red
Wayne Shorter (tenor & soprano saxes, vocals)
Phantom Navigator (Columbia CK 40373)
Wayne Shorter (tenor & soprano saxes, vocals),
Mitchel Forman (synthesizers), Gary Willis (bass guitar), Tom Brechtlein (drums).
Composed by Wayne Shorter.
Recorded: Los Angeles, 1987
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Multi-Grammy winner Wayne Shorter's importance to jazz is much more than being a part of seminal jazz-rock group Weather Report. He played with and was music director for the great Art Blakey band in the early 1960s. He was lured away by Miles Davis to join his quintet. Davis loved Shorter's playing and composing. Davis's bands performed and recorded many of Shorter's compositions. That was a seal of approval from a guy who didn't dole out too many of those. And then Shorter, along with Josef Zawinul, formed Weather Report, one of the most successful of all jazz-rock bands. To this day, his compositions and improvisations are of a deep and knowing nature.
Though actively touring and appearing on other peoples' albums, Shorter has released relatively few solo albums since his Weather Report days. Phantom Navigator is some jazz-rock ride. Its opening cut, "Condition Red," is a nuclear-powered super cruise liner. Forman's synthesizer provides the reactor fuel. Bassist Willis is ballast. Drummer Brechtlein is the steam-driven turbine. Shorter is the navigator plotting a course through troubled waters. His lines twist and turn, but always maintain course: straight-ahead. We get some interesting and unexpected entertainment on this cruise. Shorter lifts his voice to sing some nonsense syllables that you will be humming at the midnight buffet. The condition may be RED, but I am not worried with Shorter at the charts. Are you?
One of the best interviews of Shorter, a man of some depth and idiosyncrasies, was conducted by Jazz.com's Bob Blumenthal. Read it here.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky