• Wayne's World: Wayne Shorter With The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra

    September 24, 2015

    Jazz legend Wayne Shorter accepts the applause of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra during a retrospective of his music in May. (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Wayne Shorter is a living legend — a saxophonist, composer and lifelong original thinker. He's never been afraid to be different, which is perhaps why he's accomplished so much. Among his accomplishments:

    • Music director for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers
    • Member of the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid-1960s
    • Co-founder of the band Weather Report
    • Bandleader and recording artist for more than 50 years
    • Winner of 10 Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement

    He's revered by many generations of jazz lovers, including the members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. They created new arrangements of tunes from throughout his career. Then they performed those arrangements with him in May.

    "He didn't have any requests for changes of anything, amazingly, as I reflect upon it," says reedman Victor Goines. "He was able to take what we had — even though he hasn't played some of those tunes in decades, I'm sure — and interpret them and make them as fresh as anything that is being written today."

    Shorter frequently revisits some of his earlier compositions. But his objective isn't retrospective, or to recreate his older style. He always makes it a point to try to make his music new again.

    "It's almost like as an adult to go outside and play with some other adults like they used to do when they were kids," Shorter says.

    The man who called himself "Mr. Weird" as a kid is a huge film buff and loves science fiction. He's also a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, and that pushes him forward too.

    "Hon Nim Myo," Shorter says. "It means from this moment, from this moment forward is the first day of my life. And don't, we don't lie and sit on accolades and rewards and awards and what-do-you-call-it, trophies, Grammys and this and that and bank accounts and fame and all that. That's the worst kind of fuel that you can rely on. The best kind of fuel that you can rely on is Hon Nim Myo. You start from now."

    In this episode of Jazz Night In America, we hear selections from the concerts he performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York. And we visit Shorter at his house in Southern California to find out more about his many sources of inspiration.

    "I always tell the kids when they ask, 'What do you think about when you play?'" Shorter says. "I say, 'All right, let's try to play what you wish for.' Play what you wish for. Play what you wish for the world to be."

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  • Celebrating Rahsaan Roland Kirk

    September 10, 2015

    Rahsaan Roland Kirk. (Image Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

    Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who would have been 80 this year, was a boundary-pushing virtuoso on multiple wind instruments (sometimes at once). It certainly rubbed off on Steve Turre, who apprenticed with Kirk in the 1970s. Turre has become a monster player himself, and also specializes in multiple horns — both the trombone and the conch shell.

    Jazz Night In America follows Turre to Jazz at Lincoln Center, where he's assembled a monster lineup to celebrate one of his major influences.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Up And Down The Mississippi With Bill Frisell

    September 10, 2015

    Bill Frisell. (Image Credit: Paul Moore/Courtesy of the artist)

    For the past two years, the remarkably versatile guitarist Bill Frisell has curated Jazz at Lincoln Center's Roots of Americana series. For the final performance of the series, he took a crowd back to the Mississippi River Delta, the great incubator of American music, with a performance titled "Up and Down the Mississippi: Traveling Highway 61." It's his way of exploring music from New Orleans jazz to Delta blues, Bob Dylan to Bix Beiderbecke.

    Jazz Night In America takes in the show at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, featuring Greg Osby (saxophone), Craig Taborn (piano) and Rudy Royston (drums).

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Celebrating Betty Carter

    September 10, 2015

    Betty Carter. (Image Credit: Anthony Barboza/Courtesy of the artist)

    For years, one of jazz's top institutions of higher education was "the school of Betty Carter," an esteemed collection of her band's alumni and singers bound together by the thrall of her titanic influence. Hers was, simply, one of the most powerful voices in American music.

    Jazz Night In America celebrates her lasting influence at Jazz at Lincoln Center with a performance by vocalist Charenée Wade, accompanied by many former members of Carter's bands through the years.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Celebrating Max Roach

    September 10, 2015

    Max Roach. (Image Credit: William Gottlieb/Library Of Congress)

    To say Max Roach was a bebop pioneer, or a paramount innovator of the drums, or a prominent social activist would be accurate. Yet these individual labels fall short of his totality. Ali Jackson had a chance to see a fuller picture — after crossing paths with Roach at age 12, Jackson was forever changed, and would go on to study with Roach. Today, he's the drummer for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and still deeply appreciative.

    Jazz Night In America takes in Jackson's one-night-only salute to the father of modern drumming, complete with an expanded ensemble and string quartet.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .