The Wayne Shorter Quarter concert was unlike any concert I have ever been to. The variety of instruments and style of the performers contributed to a unique experience. Not only was the music I heard versatile on several levels, but the behavior of the performers, appearance of the audience, and atmosphere of the venue contributed to my take away from the show. These factors allowed me to obtain a better understanding of jazz as not only an art form, but as a culture.
Our writers will create one from scratch for
The audience was the first thing I noticed when entering the venue. Most of the attendees were middle-aged and Caucasian. They were dressed in casual but nice clothing. It was not a formal event but no one was wearing tennis shoes are gym clothes. I also noticed that alcohol was being served with light refreshments. This contributed to the relaxed and casual environment that I expected of a jazz concert. I also spoke with a few concert attendees that were closer to my age. They said that they were part of a jazz band and were big Wayne Shorter fans. This showed me that Wayne Shorter’s music has listeners from multiple generations and is still influencing young musicians today. In the actual concert I noticed that the audience did not respond to the performers in any way other than clapping. I expected the audience to be more engaged and not just sit passively. However, they did thoroughly enjoy the performance because they received encore performances. My take away from the audience is that they were older adults who are strong jazz enthusiasts. This did not seem like a concert someone would go to if they did not have a deep knowledge of jazz.
The appearance and behavior of the performers contributed to the casual feeling of the concert as well. All the performers were wearing normal day clothes and were not formally introduced. Wayne Shorter had a detailed introduction but the other performers did not. I realized that everyone in the audience probably knew a lot about the other performers and this is why they were not introduced. This assumption of further knowledge is another example of how the audience was most likely avid jazz listeners and already knew about the other performers.
The behavior of the performers was unlike any ensemble I have seen before. I usually attend alternative band concerts or solo singer concerts. This quartet seemed to have equal parts in the production without overshadowing each other. This showed me that they all have an immense respect for one another. At first I thought Shorter would steal the show and outshine the other performers because he was essentially the star, however, he did exactly the opposite. He waited for the right moments to add his sound to the group. The other members even seemed to invite him into playing with certain riffs but he would wait until he thought the time was right to jump in. I appreciate this in a performer because they can usually let fame and success inflate their ego but Shorter seemed humble and respectful of the other musicians. The pianist, Danilo Perez, sticks out in my mind in particular because it seemed like he was the backbone of the performance. He was almost always playing, not in a “ stealing the spotlight” way, but in a way that provided a baseline for the other instruments to piggyback off of.
At one point Perez plays a riff that sounds like it is egging Shorter on to play because it involved lower notes that catered so well to the contrasting Soprano Saxophone he was playing. Brian Blade, the drummer, was also another performer that would feed off of Perez’s undertones. Blade, on the other hand, added a large amount of flair and passion to the piece. He was constantly moving and jumping in and out of his seat. Through his intensity and fast tempo, he kept people on the edge of their seat with whatever riff or tempo he would produce next. I also found it fascinating that he changed the sticks he was playing with so frequently. He used brushes for slower tempo and softer sounds. These brushes were also used primarily on the snare to add accents to the other performer’s sounds. He also switched to using mallets multiple times, which added a dramatic and melodically intense tone to the song they were playing.
I have never been to a concert where the drummer rarely uses actual sticks to play with, which is why I found Blade’s performance so captivating. The bassist, John Patitucci, was also playing his instrument nontraditionally. For example, instead of using his bow, he was plucking for most of the concert. He was also beating on the wood part of his bass some. This is really showing how much of an understanding a performer has of their instrument when they can use every part of it. Blade also exhibited this as well when he was playing on the metal part of the snare to add a stronger and sharper sound.
Attending the Wayne Shorter Quartet concert was an eye-opening experience for me. This concert allowed me to obtain a better understanding of the type of people who attend jazz concerts, what jazz performers act like on stage, and how they feed off of one another, especially in concert atmospheres. The versatility of each performer also contributed to the holistic sound of the quartet. I recommend attending a jazz concert for any level of jazz knowledge one has because it is a distinct experience that leaves a lasting impression.