Wayne Shorter, Speak No Evil

Britt Robson

By Britt Robson

on 08.27.12 in Reviews

Speak No Evil

Wayne Shorter

Speak No Evil is where Wayne Shorter most noticeably glided into the deep end of the compositional pool, moving further away from straight-ahead bop to embrace the broader structures, deceptively accessible complexity and languid lyricism that would mark much of his writing for Miles Davis, his subsequent Blue Note discs and Weather Report. But rather than point out which songs are modal, in minor key, edged with chromatic counterpoint, or based on Sibelius’s “Valse Triste,” let’s just say that the music is beautiful and beguiling. Having recently joined Miles, Shorter recruited bassist Ron Carter and pianist Herbie Hancock from that quintet to join with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and drummer Elvin Jones in a truly all-star ensemble. Hancock in particular is a perfect foil in helping Shorter maintain the delicate tension in the dovetailing elements of turmoil and serenity at the heart of so many of the composer’s best songs.