Without a Net

The Wayne Shorter Quartet

Saxophonist Shorter turns 80 this year and has released his first album for Blue Note since 1970. Recorded live during 2011 with his longstanding quartet (pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, drummer Brian Blade), Shorter continues to challenge himself, his musicians and his audience with uncompromising jazz. Shorter’s “Orbits,” from Miles Smiles, opens with ominous piano and bass before Shorter suggests the melody and they are off and running. “Plaza Real,” originally awash with synthesizers (by Weather Report) is completely remade here. “Pegasus” is unique, a modern-classical-meets-jazz 23-minute opus in collaboration with the Imani Winds. More traditional song structures become springboards for collective interplay and improvisation in Shorter’s “S.S. Golden Mean” and his playful interpretation of 1933’s “Flyin’ Down to Rio.” “Myrhh” and the closing “UFO” sound collectively improvised. Shorter, always a visionary, continues to look forward.