JuJu [Bonus Track] (CD)


Wayne Shorter

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Amoeba Review

John Schacht 06/16/2010

For his second date as a leader for Blue Note, tenor sax player Wayne Shorter surrounded himself with current or former members of John Coltrane’s group. As he’d done on his debut (Night Dreamer) recorded earlier that year (1964), Shorter tabbed pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and Coltrane alum Reggie Workman (bass) to join him, this time leaving out trumpeter Lee Morgan and sticking with a straight quartet. It was a significant move in that Shorter felt confident to carry the melodies – he wrote all six – by himself, and does so admirably. Coltrane comparisons dogged Shorter throughout his early career, no doubt in part because the interplay between Tyner, Jones and Workman here is every bit as complex and amazing as it was with the legendary Coltrane. In the original liner notes, Shorter says he wanted to explore his own philosophy and personality, and the opening title track builds to a hypnotic incantation. The following track, “Deluge,” wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but rather suggestive of an outpouring of ideas, and Shorter lets loose with a wave on them in the beginning before the composition settles into a slinky pace custom-built for Jones to apply his polyrhythm skills. “House of Jade” finds Shorter in a lyrical mood and toning down some of his aggressive tendencies; Tyner’s underrated lyricism is on display as well, and Workman turns what could’ve been a simple walking bass line into a complex set of figures that manage to provide the same function. On “Mahjong,” the atmosphere gets decidedly exotic as Shorter tried to recreate the game’s patterns musically, including a confrontation mid-song meant to represent a stalemate between players. But Tyner, Jones and Workman excel at tearing down structures and building new ones as they go along, and by the time Shorter returns to restate the theme it’s in a decidedly more urgent setting. “Yes and No” was meant to evoke both the positive and negative, and begins with an upbeat pace, Shorter stating the opening theme with utmost confidence. But the mood shifts perceptibly to minor-key, and as Jones, Workman and Tyner seem to urge each other into various states of lather, Shorter’s playing veers schizophrenically between the two polarities. Only the rather straight-forward blues “Twelve More Bars to Go” fails to excite much. It’s hard not to be overshadowed by one of the great rhythm sections in jazz history, but Shorter is an equal player here, and that makes most of this crisp, high-energy session a declaration of true self-confidence.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Juju
Wayne Shorter 08:35
2.
Deluge
Wayne Shorter 06:53
3.
House Of Jade
Wayne Shorter 06:53
4.
Mahjong
Wayne Shorter 07:44
5.
Yes Or No
Wayne Shorter 06:39
6.
Twelve More Bars To Go
Wayne Shorter 05:31
7.
Juju [AlternateTake]
Wayne Shorter 07:50
8.
House Of Jade [Alternate Take]
Wayne Shorter 06:39

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