In celebration of the legendary Wayne Shorter’s 87th birthday, inspired impresario and producer Jesse Markowitz has created a two-disc, 22-track recording project featuring 30-plus musicians performing compositions written and/or made famous by the iconic saxophonist/composer. Released on Shorter’s birthday, August 25, this project is also an uplifting response to a world thrown into the harsh reality of a global pandemic. The impressive roster of artists on Palladium 2020 has been handpicked/curated by Markowitz, and reflects Shorter’s eclectic and luminous creative life, as well as many of his seminal collaborations, including those with Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Wynton Kelly, Weather Report and Herbie Hancock.
There are myriad brilliant contributions to this project, however several tracks stand out, having been culled from some of Shorter’s most memorable recordings. Embracing the length and breadth of his stellar career, it includes the ultra-cool bop exploration The Summit, taken from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ 1960 release Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World, and features Nicole Glover’s burning tenor. Consummate pianist Eric Reed’s interpretation of Sydney (from Wynton Kelly’s 1959 Kelly Great) is not only masterful, but has captured the very essence of Shorter’s deeply sensitive soul.
Of special profundity is legendary soprano player Dave Liebman’s journey around the galaxy, flying on Shorter’s Footprints, first released on Miles Davis’ 1966 Miles Smiles, and arranged in a fresh way – as an elemental duo with the great Willy Rodriguez on drums. Leibman is as dynamic and rife with ideas as usual. This entire project is a tribute not only to Shorter himself, but to the very elemental power of music – power to heal and transform – which is exactly what Shorter has done through his art for his entire career.