I’m currently reading a book called THE LIFE AND WORK OF WAYNE SHORTER by Michelle Mercer, which is on loan from a friend of mine here in Tokyo. anyone with a desire to know more about this giant of 20th century music is well advised to take a look at this book. many interesting anecdotes about his thought process, relationships with friends and fellow musicians, his home life, his spiritual convictions, his numerous misfortunes and triumphs, and his long journey stepping out from the shadows. NATIVE DANCER is, with the exception of SPEAK NO EVIL, my favorite Wayne Shorter record. it’s hard to believe that only ten years had passed between the recording of these two albums. they are vastly different. but Shorter’s sublime lyricism and compositional prowess are the threads that connect them. accompanying Shorter’s horn is the haunting voice of Milton Nascimiento. “DIANA”, written by Shorter, is a ballad played in a rubato style. it is essentially a duet between Shorter and Herbie Hancock with some electric bass accompaniment and overdubbed effects. there are three sections: the main melody, a restatement of the melody and a short coda. it comes off like a prelude to a larger piece of music or like the opening chapter of a fairytale, and conjures up vivid imagery when i listen to it. a barefoot woman in a soft dress walking through a field of high grass which is still moist from the night before, and the sun just broaching the horizon. perhaps she’s leaving someone or something behind. i wonder what she sees off in the distance. what a powerful melody. Wayne Shorter is definitely the man… i wrote out the shell of the song- the melody and bass voices. the chords are of course open to interpretation and the way i formatted the song is my own solution. listen to “DIANA” below and decide for yourself…

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26. December 2009 by james
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