Joe Zawinul & Wayne Shorter: In a Silent Way
In a Silent Way
75 (Heads Up 3162)
Recorded: Veszprém, Hungary, August 2, 2007
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
The performance here is a loose dialogue between a soprano saxophone, played by Mr. Shorter, and a garden of electronic sounds cultivated by Mr. Zawinul. It won't make anyone forget the version these same two artists recorded 38 years earlier with Miles Davis, but it is an emotionally charged performance nonetheless—mostly because Zawinul would be dead a few weeks later. He was hospitalized five days after this concert, and would succumb to Merkel cell cancer on September 11. A wistful, nostalgic quality permeates the music, and Zawinul gives Shorter the kind of space to stretch out that the saxophonist rarely enjoyed during his Weather Report days. Shorter, for his part, offers a lesson in Zen jazz. This is a 14-minute track, but instead of Coltranian extravagance, Shorter works his magic with bursts of sound color and tonal splashes. At the conclusion of the performance, Zawinul offers some touching comments about his longtime partner, calling Shorter "the greatest living musician in the world." Yet this was an even more fitting moment to look back on Zawinul's own career, and his commitment to synthesized sounds, an advocacy in which he persisted long after the Age of Fusion had ended, and into a day when most of the other jazz keyboardists of his generation had returned to the good ol' piano. Even at this closing moment in his career, Zawinul was tinkering with his futuristic sounds and pushing the old songs into new directions. How fitting!
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
Tags: in a silent way