You are here
Regarded as one of the most significant and prolific performers and composers in jazz and modern music, WAYNE SHORTER has an outstanding record of professional achievement in his historic career as a musician. He has received substantial recognition from his peers, including 6 Grammy Awards and 13 other Grammy nominations.
Wayne received his first Grammy with his group Weather Report in 1979 for Best Jazz Fusion Performance on their album "8:30." He received his 2nd Grammy in the category of Best Instrumental Composition in 1987, for " Call Sheet Blues" from the motion picture sound track "Round Midnight" The 3rd came in 1994 in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Group for "A Tribute to Miles." Most recently in 1997 he was awarded the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance for "High Life" and he won the 1998 Grammy for Best Composition for "Aung San Suu Kyi" and finally in 2000 came the Grammy for Best Instrumental Solo for "In Walked Wayne."
Born August 25, 1933 in Newark, NJ, he attended Art's High School and later graduated from New York University. He served in the US Army from 1956 to 1958, after which he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. His five years as one of Blakey's Messengers clearly established him as a newcomer to watch due to winning the number on "New Star Saxophonist" Downbeat poll for 1962. He came in second place for "Best Composer," while Duke Ellington came in first.
In 1964, Miles Davis invited Wayne to go on the road with his band which included Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter. He stayed with Davis for six years, recording a dozen albums with him, creating a sound with a bandleader that changed the face of music during that tumultuous decade. In his autobiography, the late Miles Davis had this to say about the years Wayne was in his band: "Wayne is a real composer…he knew that freedom in music was the ability to know the rules in order to bend them to your satisfaction and taste…"
In 1970 he formed Weather Report with Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous. Through his solo career and his work with Weather Report, he helped to redefine the new hybrid of music, which came to be known as fusion or progressive music. During that period, Wayne won the Downbeat poll on Soprano Sax after 1969 for 15 to 17 years consecutively. With the 1985 release of his solo album "Atlantis," the New York Times called him "one of the most significant composers and individual saxophonists in jazz."
He has received credit for saxophone performances in the motion picture soundtracks for "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1983), "The Fugitive" (1993), and "Losing Isaiah" (1995).
Wayne received the National Endowment for the Art's "American Jazz Master Award" in 1998, and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Berkeley College of Music in 1999.
He recently was commissioned and wrote a piece for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Millennium Concert. Once again he was highly acclaimed by the critics.
Through his musicianship and compositions Wayne has completely changed modern music, and influenced generations of countless other musicians and composers.