Innovative jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter passed away on Thursday in Los Angeles at the age of 89 according to his publicist at Blue Note Records that confirmed the news to NPR.
Known as one of the best to touch a saxophone, Shorter made a huge impact in the jazz community as he’s credited with creating the “hard bop” style according to The Guardian. The 12-time Grammy winner’s career spanned six decades and he worked with some of the best in the industry like Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, and Joni Mitchell to name a few.
The New Jersey native took a liking to music when he was a teenager when he picked up the clarinet at the age of 16 according to Blue Note Records. He then went on to learn how to play the tenor and soprano saxophone which became his instrument of choice. In 1952, he took his talents to New York University to further his education in music and learned more about composing.
Following his graduation, he played with “hard bop” jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Horace Silver until he was drafted by the army. After two years of being in the army, he joined a jazz band named The Messengers, in the late 1950s which gained him more notoriety as a musician and composer.
After playing with and composing pieces for the band for several years, he went on to play with Miles Davis’ band in the mid-1960s, reported NPR. During his time in the quintet, he released multiple solo albums that gained him a lot of notoriety as they were influential and captivating.
After the group went their separate ways, he and Davis still played together before he founded his group. Shorter founded the Weather Report with keyboardist Joe Zawinul, who previously played with Davis, in the ’70s. The group ended up being one of the most respected jazz bands in the ’70s, and in 1979 they received many Grammy nominations after releasing their album, 8:30. He left the group in 1985 and began doing more composition work behind the scenes.
His influential career led to him receiving the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2015. Three years later, he decided to release another solo album, which was his final project, titled Emanon.