A Legend, Still Growing

A Weather Report veteran at his gimmick-free best.


An alumnus of the ’70s fusion band Weather Report, Wayne Shorter is at his best when he unplugs and resists electric gimmickry. Alegría (“joy” in Spanish) places the sax man in evocative acoustic settings over which he crafts concise solos that swing in unexpected directions. Reminiscent of a film noir score, “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5” features haunting cello; a new version of his own “Orbits” roughs up the stately arrangement with raspy chords. On “Sacajawea,” Shorter unfurls swirling sheets of overdubbed notes. How refreshing to find a legend worthy of the name not just persisting, but continuing to grow after more than four decades.

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  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.