Wayne Shorter was born August 25, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey and attended Newark Arts High School where his love of music flourished under the encouragement of his father to take up the saxophone. In his youth Shorter had acquired the nickname “Mr. Gone”, which later became an album title for Weather Report.
Graduating in 1952, he matriculated through New York University in 1956, spent two years in the Army, during which he briefly played with Horace Silver and after his discharge, he played with Maynard Ferguson.
In 1959, Shorter became a Messenger joining Art Blakey, stayed five years and became the bands musical director. When Coltrane left Miles Davis’ band he proposed Wayne, as his replacement but his unavailability di not release him from Blakey until 1964. Along with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, the Second Great Quintet was born.
During his tenure with Miles, Wayne would compose “Prince of Darkness”, “E.S.P.”, “Footprints”, “Sanctuary”, “Nefertiti”, and many others; often providing half of the compositions on an album, typically hard bop workouts with long, spaced-out melody lines above the beat. He remained in Davis’s band after the breakup of the quintet in 1968, playing on the early jazz-fusion recordings including “In A Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew”.
Until 1968, he played the tenor saxophone exclusively but the next year he put down the tenor after his final Davis recording of Filles de Kilimanjaro and began playing the soprano, which he used on his own Super Nova release with Chick Corea and John McLaughlin. By the early 1970s, however, he chiefly played soprano.
Shorter recorded eleven albums for Blue Note Records featuring almost exclusively his own compositions, with a variety of line-ups, quartets and larger groups. He would enlist the talents of Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman and Elvin Jones.
Juju, Speak No Evil and Adam’s Apple The All Seeing Eye and Schizophrenia played in the spaces between free-jazz and carefully constructed melodies. Hey incorporated old friends like Hancock, Carter, Curtis Fuller and Joe Chambers. He recorded occasionally in the sideman slot with Donald Byrd, McCoy tyner, Grachan Moncur III, Hubbard, Morgan, Hancock and Williams.
In 1970, Shorter formed the fusion group Weather Report with Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous, Airto Moreira and Alphonse Mouzon. They lasted until 1985. One of the most notable alumni included revolutionary bassist Jaco Pastorious and the band produced funk, bebop, Latin jazz, ethnic music and futuristic recordings.
He would record with Milton Nascimento, Carlos Santana, V.S.O.P Quintet, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan’s Aja, Terri Lynne Carrington, Marilyn Mazur, Jim Beard, Don Henley, Wallace Roney, and can be heard on the Harrison Ford film soundtrack of The Fugitive. By the mid 90s Wayne released his Verve Records debut High Life and received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 1997.
Into the millennium Shorter has continued to receive wide acclaim working with Hancock once again in 1997, on the much acclaimed and heralded album 1+1. The song “Aung San Suu Kyithem won them both a Grammy Award. He continues to work in a number of group configurations and winning Grammys for his Beyond The Sound Barrier & Alegria – Best Instrumental Jazz Album amongst his 10 Grammy Awards, and has been a Down Beat reigning critics’ poll winner for ten consecutive years and the readers’ for 18. The soprano saxophonist has amassed an impressive discography and continues to compose, reinvent his music, perform and tour.
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Raul de Souza was born August 23, 1934, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Learning to play to trombone in his youth he went on to perform and record with Sergio Mendes, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Milton Nascimento, Sonny Rollins, Cal Tjader, Hermeto Pascoal and the jazz-fusion band Caldera.
Raul’s debut album as a leader came in 1965 with A Vontade Mesmo for RCA Brazil followed up three years later with International Hot on the Equipe label. His American debut release Sweet Lucy, produced by composer and pianist George Duke on the Capitol Records label, also produced his sophomore project, Don’t Ask My Neighbors. Colors, a Milestone recording is now a part of the Original Jazz Classics series from Fantasy Records.
By 1979, de Souza was releasing ‘Til Tomorrow Comes, an Arthur Wright production with many of the top soul session players in Los Angeles. Devoid of any jazz, it was an attempt to jump aboard the disco/funk bandwagon. Since then he has added eight more recordings as a leader to his catalogue and produced a DVD, O Universo Musical de Raul de Souza in 2012.
Trombonist Raul de Souza has appeared at many international jazz festivals and after living and working in the United States for many years, he has returned to live in Brazil where he continues to play and compose.
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Lex Humphries was born on August 22, 1936 in New York City and passed away on July 11, 1994 in his hometown. A jazz drummer, he worked with two musicians known for mixing world music with jazz: Sun Ra and Yusef Lateef. As a member of Sun Ra’s “Arkestra” he appeared in the film Space Is The Place.
Humphries played on the Giant Steps sessions with John Coltrane. The renditions he and Cedar Walton recorded with Coltrane were released as alternative tracks in 1974. He was also the first drummer in the Art Farmer and Benny Golson Jazztet, appearing on their first album titled Meet The Jazztet in 1960.
Between 1959 and 1973 Lex also played and recorded albums with Donald Byrd, John Coltrane including The Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Wes Montgomery, Duke Pearson, Sonny Red, Chet Baker, Junior Mance, Sonny Stitt, McCoy Tyner and Doug Watkins among numerous others.
The understated drummer and solid bebopper cited Philly Joe Jones as his only influence. He was also a member of the band that accompanied Leon Thomas, and amassed a catalogue of over 70 sessions and was a steady collaborator. Though his reputation was firmly established, Lex Humphries, however, only rated a mere five lines in Leonard Feather’s Encyclopedia of Jazz.
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Arthur Stewart Farmer was born August 21, 1928, an hour before his twin brother, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Their parents, James Arthur Farmer and Hazel Stewart Farmer, divorced when the boys were four, and their steelworker father was killed in a work accident not long after. He moved with his grandfather, grandmother, mother, brother and sister to Phoenix, Arizona when he was still four. He began playing piano while in elementary school, then moved on to bass tuba and violin before settling on cornet and then trumpet at the age of thirteen. He taught himself to read music and practiced his new main instrument, the trumpet.
Farmer and his brother moved to Los Angeles in 1945, attending the music-oriented Jefferson High School where they got music instruction and hung out with other developing musicians such as Sonny Criss, Ernie Andrews, Big Jay McNeely and Ed Thigpen. By sixteen he was playing trumpet professionally, performing in the Horace Henderson, Jimmy Mundy and Floyd Ray bands, among others.
Art left school to tour with a group led by Johnny Otis, but this job lasted for only four months, as Farmer’s lip gave out, becoming lacerated through underdevelopment of his technique. He then received technique training in New York, auditioned unsuccessfully for Dizzy Gillespie and returned to the West Coast in 1948 as a member of Jay McShann’s outfit.
Farmer played and toured with Benny Carter, Wardell Gray, Roy Porter and Gerald Wilson in the early 50s.He would record his first studio session with Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson, and gained great attention with his piece titled “Farmer’s Market”. He joined Lionel Hampton’s orchestra, toured Europe, became a member of Teddy Charles’ New Directions band, relocated to New York and in 1953, had his first recording session as leader for Prestige titled The Art Farmer Septet.
Over the course of his career he has worked with Quincy Jones, Gigi Gryce, Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus, appeared on the Steve Allen show, Newport Jazz Festival, and two films – I Want To Live and The Subterraneans. As a member of Jazz at the Philharmonic he toured Europe again, that helped him gain an international reputation. He formed the Jazztet with Benny Golson, assited the careers of McCoy Tyner and Granchan Moncur, appeared in the photo Great Day In Harlem, recorded prolifically and led groups through the Sixties, and took a job in the orchestra pit on Broadway as jobs in jazz dried up.
He would settle in Vienna and divide his time between Europe and New york, revive the Jazztet with Golson, form a quintet with Clifford Jordan as a member, lost 30 pounds, quit smoking and drinking, avoided drugs, performed regularly, was awarded the Austrian Gold Medal of Merit, and was selected as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 1999. A few months later on October 4, 1999 bebop trumpeter, flugelhorn and flumpet player and bandleader Art Farmer passed away of a heart attack at his New York Manhattan home. He was 71.
Frank Rosolino was born on August 20, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan. He studied the guitar with his father from the age of 9 and took up the trombone at age 14 while he was enrolled at Miller High School where he played with Milt Jackson in the school’s stage band and small group. Having never graduated, he joined the 86th Division Army Band during World War II.
Perhaps most influential of all was the street education Frank received after returning to Detroit following his period in the Army during which he sat in at the Mirror Ballroom or the Bluebird where other to-be-renowned musicians also congregated, the Jones brothers – Hank, Thad and Elvin, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers and later at the 3 Deuces on 52nd Street in New York City with Charlie Parker.
During this period Rosolino was also performing with the big bands of Bob Chester, Glen Gray, Tony Pastor, Herbie Fields, Gene Krupa and Stan Kenton. Leaving the Kenton outfit he settled in Los Angeles where he performed with Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-Stars from 1954–1960 in Hermosa Beach.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, between nightclub engagements, Rosolino was active in many Los Angeles recording studios where he performed with such notables as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Michel Legrand and Quincy Jones among others.
He can also be seen performing in “Sweet Smell of Success” in 1957 with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, and in 1958 with Shelly Manne’s group in the film “I Want To Live!” starring Susan Heyward and also. He was also a regular on The Steve Allen Show, The Tonight Show and The Merv Griffin Show. A talented vocalist, renowned for his wild form of scat-singing, Frank recorded one vocal album, “Turn Me Loose!” featuring both his singing and trombone playing. He can also be seen performing in the half hour syndicated program Jazz Scene USA, hosted by Oscar Brown, Jr.
It was during the 1970s that he performed and toured with Quincy Jones and the Grammy Award winning group Suoersax. He recorded some two-dozen sessions as a sideman and a dozen as a leader. Trombonist and vocalist Frank Rosolino committed suicide on November 26, 1978 after shooting his two sons.