In a 2012 interview, Wayne Shorter described a life-changing incident.
One day when he was in high school, Shorter, who was not a musician at the time, was called to the vice-principal’s office, “and there’s my mother and father, and they had all the forged letters I wrote, signing a doctor’s name, my parent’s name, and everything like that.”
“I was put in the music [theory] class because I played hooky, and the teacher was a disciplinarian—when people were talking in the back of the room, he took the chalk and threw it at them.”
“This teacher said that music could take form in three avenues. He had a record of a lady from Peru named Yma Sumac; she had that range—high octaves and all that stuff. Then he brought out another record, Igor Stravinsky’s The rite of spring, which is happenin’. The third record he pulled out was Charlie Parker. And then, when he was talking, I was thinking of a movie unfolding. And I was like, ‘I want to be in that movie.’”
Today is Shorter’s 80th birthday! Above, a portrait by John Abbott. Below, a performance by the quartet in 2003.
- Wayne Shorter Quartet (artsatthecore.wordpress.com)
- Stormy Mondays | Happy 80th Birthday Wayne Shorter (jambase.com)
- Wayne Shorter: Beginnings – review (theguardian.com)