What’s Legendary Jazz Saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s Death Cause?
Wayne Shorter’s cause of death has not been announced by his family yet but his publicist, Alisse Kingsley, confirmed the devastating news on March 2, 2023.
“Visionary composer, saxophonist, visual artist, devout Buddhist, devoted husband, father, and grandfather Wayne Shorter has embarked on a new journey as part of his extraordinary life — departing the earth as we know it in search of an abundance of new challenges and creative possibilities,” the statement released by Kingsley read.
It called Shorter a gentle spirit who was “always inquisitive and constantly exploring.”
Wayne Shorter was born on August 25, 1933, in Newark, New Jersey, United States. His early influences include Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins, and John Coltrane.
In 1959, he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers where he stayed for almost four years, eventually becoming a musical director and composing pieces for the group.
Together they toured the US, Japan, and Europe, recording several notable albums. During this time he “established himself as one of the most gifted of the young saxophonists” and received international acknowledgment.
Shorter remained in Davis’s group after the breakup of the quintet in 1968, playing on early jazz fusion recordings including Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way (both 1969). Wayne’s last live dates and studio recordings with Davis were in 1970.
Until 1968, Shorter played tenor saxophone exclusively. The final album on which Shorter played tenor in the regular sequence of Davis albums was Filles de Kilimanjaro.
The artist played the soprano saxophone on the Davis album In a Silent Way and on his own Super Nova in 1969. Shorter also recorded several albums for Blue Note Records, featuring exclusively his own compositions.
His first Blue Note album was Night Dreamer, recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in 1964 with McCoy Tyner (piano), Reggie Workman (bass), Lee Morgan (trumpet), and Elvin Jones (drums). Two more albums were recorded in 1964, Speak No Evil and JuJu.
He recorded occasionally as a sideman with trumpeter Donald Byrd, McCoy Tyner, trombonist Grachan Moncur III, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, as well as bandmates Herbie Hancock and drummer Tony Williams.
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There was no immediate information on Wayne Shorter’s cause of death. The influential jazz innovator died at the age of 89 on Thursday in Los Angeles.
In 2015, producer/director Dorsay Alavi began filming a documentary about the life of Shorter called Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity.
A number of high-profile musicians, including Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Esperanza Spalding, performed at a donor event to raise funds for the documentary.
In 2016, it was announced that Wayne, Carlos Santana, and Herbie Hancock would begin touring under the name Mega Nova. Their first show together was on August 24, 2016, at the Hollywood Bowl.
In 2018, the star retired from his 70-year performing career due to health issues. Shorter continued working as a composer, creating an operatic work titled (Iphigenia), with Esperanza Spalding writing the libretto and Frank Gehry designing the sets, which premiered in November 2021, at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.
As a band leader, Wayne released more than 25 albums and won 12 Grammy Awards. He was given a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2015.
Last month, Shorter won a Grammy in the category of best-improvised jazz solo for “Endangered Species” with Leo Genovese.
Hancock praised Wayne for his musical expertise and for leaving a special mark in his life. “Wayne Shorter, my best friend, left us with courage in his heart, love and compassion for all, and a seeking spirit for the eternal future.
He was ready for his rebirth. As it is with every human being, he is irreplaceable and was able to reach the pinnacle of excellence as a saxophonist, composer, orchestrator, and recently, composer of the masterful opera ‘…Iphigenia’.
“I miss being around him and his special Wayne-isms but I carry his spirit within my heart always,” Hancock said in a statement.
Don Was, the president of Blue Note Records, said: “Maestro Wayne Shorter was our hero, guru, and beautiful friend. His music possessed a spirit that came from somewhere way, way beyond and made this world a much better place.”
He added: “Likewise, his warmth and wisdom enriched the lives of everyone who knew him. Thankfully, the work he left behind will stay with us forever. Our hearts go out to Carolina and all who loved him.”
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