Night Dreamer [Bonus Track] (CD)


Wayne Shorter

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Amoeba Review

John Schacht 06/16/2010

Wayne Shorter’s leader-debut was just the first of three excellent dates he compiled for Blue Note in 1964. Collaborating with an impressive quintet -- trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Elvin Jones – Shorter and his six originals suggest why the saxophonist was considered such a double threat. Shorter studied with John Coltrane in the 50s, which led to charges that the tenor player’s aggressive, note-rich sound was derivative. At first glance this band would seem to only encourage those comparisons since Tyner, Workman and Jones were all current or former members of the Coltrane Quartet. But that doesn’t do justice to Shorter and his compositions, and just as importantly it short-changes the versatility of his amazing band members. Though the title track goes from major to minor, the tone is decidedly wistful despite its 3/4-waltz time, and Morgan delivers his usual crisp soloing between two Shorter improvisations. Jones’ timing, polyrhythms, dynamics, timbre, and legato phrasing offer a primer in percussion, as they do throughout the record, and Tyner’s block chords and gliding solos provide his usual percussive and lyrical elements. The pianist’s glissandos highlight the opening of the exotic “Oriental Folk Song,” a leisurely paced number that picks up steam with each solo. Shorter’s gorgeous ballad “Virgo” highlights Workman and Tyner playing off each other with subtle dexterity, while Shorter’s sustained notes here are just one reason the Coltrane comparisons began to subside with this recording. The band shows considerable swing on the up-tempo “Black Nile,” Jones pushing everyone along at a brisk clip with a plethora of polyrhythms, while Morgan delivers his most stinging solo of the set. “Charcoal Blues” is a standard, quick-tempo blues, but features some of Shorter’s sharpest soloing. Disc-ender “Armageddon” showcases Shorter’s composition skills and the band’s ability to deliver whatever is asked of them: What Jones does behind Shorter’s scorching opening solo is something only he could get away without destroying a song’s framework; Morgan rings out like a bell; Tyner glides up and down the keyboard with soulful ease and intensity, and Workman is the anchor throughout. Shorter would use this band (without Morgan) one more time later in the year on JuJu, and the results would be just as impressive.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Night Dreamer
Wayne Shorter 07:18
2.
Oriental Folk Song
Wayne Shorter 06:52
3.
Virgo
Wayne Shorter 07:08
4.
Black Nile
Wayne Shorter 06:29
5.
Charcoal Blues
Wayne Shorter 06:54
6.
Armageddon
Wayne Shorter 06:21
7.
Virgo [Alternate Take] [Bonus Track]
Wayne Shorter 07:02

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