Review: Wayne Shorter Quartet, Jazzlines Trio, BirminghamTown Hall

Legendary American saxophonist Wayne Shorter has been at the forefront of creative jazz for decades, working with jazz masters including Miles Davis and Art Blakey, before becoming co-leader of groundbreaking electric band Weather Report.

Shorter, now aged 79, has never been one to rest on his laurels, and he remains one of the most powerfully creative musicians on the world scene.

His all-star quartet, with pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, made a rare appearance at the Town Hall last night in a compelling concert. Melodies were fleeting and elusive, the harmonic structures were awesomely complex, but the creative depth of the group was truly extraordinary.

Shorter’s sound on tenor and soprano saxophone has an immense range, from notes which can be almost whispered or blown with immense force and even aggression. He is a master of the unexpected, weaving passionate solo lines which dovetail perfectly with constant creative input from Perez, Patitucci and Blade. The force of the music just sweeps you away.

Support group the Jazzlines Trio – pianist Reuben James, bassist James Banner and drummer Ric Yarborough  – are young musicians who offer a great deal of creative promise in their own right, and their short opening set offered many delights, including gorgeous versions of the jazz standards Skylark and Sophisticated Lady. Pianist James, in particular, is an immensely gifted improviser with a superb sense of musical structure – he’s a name to watch.

Review by John Watson 

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