Legendary Jazz Saxophonist Wayne Shorter Dead at 89
Legendary jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter died Thursday morning in Los Angeles. He was 89.
The musician played with Miles Davis and co-founded the jazz group, Weather Report, in addition to working with Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, and others in a career that saw him transfer through musical genres with incredible ease.
Shorter’s publicist confirmed his passing.
Blue Note, his longtime label, released a statement: “Visionary composer, saxophonist, visual artist, devout Buddhist, devoted husband, father, and grandfather Wayne Shorter has passed away at age 89, departing the earth as we know it and embarking on a new journey as part of his extraordinary life. Shorter was surrounded by his loving family in Los Angeles at the time of his transition.”
The musician’s staggering career stretched over eight decades. His first project was released in 1959 until this year, when he released a Grammy Award-winning album, Live at the Detroit Jazz Festival. This wasn’t his first Grammy. Shorter won 12 Grammy Awards. He won his first one in 1979 while he was in Weather Report for their album, 8:30. This recent Grammy was for Best Improvised Jazz Solo category (“Endangered Species,” from Live at the Detroit Jazz Festival).
Shorter’s closest friend and collaborator for more than six decades, Herbie Hancock, also released a statement.
“Wayne Shorter, my best friend, left us with courage in his heart, love and compassion for all, and a seeking spirit for the eternal future. He was ready for his rebirth. As it is with every human being, he is irreplaceable and was able to reach the pinnacle of excellence as a saxophonist, composer, orchestrator, and recently, composer of the masterful opera …Iphigenia. I miss being around him and his special Wayne-isms but I carry his spirit within my heart always.”
Shorter is survived by his wife, Carolina Dos Santos, an adopted stepdaughter, and a daughter from a previous marriage.