Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wayne Shorter's Alegria

Wayne Shorter's 2003 Grammy Award-winning jazz album Alegria includes my favourite arrangement (by Robert Sadin) of Bachianas Brasileiras #5 (my second favourite is Branford Marsalis's version on his Romances for Saxophone album). I wanted to feature this amazing album, since I've been listening to it lately, and also reading Michelle Mercer's excellent 2007 book Footprints: the life and work of Wayne Shorter. Mercer has this to say about the Bachianas performance:

On his version of the Heitor Villa-Lobos composition "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5" a plucked cello chorus and layered Brazilian rhythms combined into a luxurious Baroque. Wayne's practice sessions with Coltrane on string exercises paid off in his saxophone solo, the tone of which showed an uncanny empathy for the cellos' delicate strength; like his work with Milton Nascimento, the Brazilian piece brought out Wayne's romantic side.
(p. 266). Mercer points out at another place in the book that Milton Nascimento's mother was a musician who played with Villa-Lobos - I'm not sure in what context, but I'll see if I can find out. I'm also anxious to listen again to Shorter's collaboration with Nascimento (1974's Native Dancer, for example).

Very highly recommended music, and book.

Wayne Shorter has another Villa-Lobos connection, that came to the fore last month with his (Wayne Shorter Quartet) concert in Los Angeles with the Imani Winds (which celebrated Shorter's 75th birthday). Read this review in Variety, and this one in the LA Times.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an answer to the question about Milton Nascimento's mother Lilia. According to a 2005 NPR story, his mother "...used to sing in a choir under the direction of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos." - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5020612