Friday, July 1, 2011

The All Seeing Eye

By the time Wayne Shorter recorded The All Seeing Eye, his 6th session for Blue Note, he had softened his tone and relaxed into a sort of Coltrane style mysticism in his playing and his demeanor. Always considered an innovative arranger and an all around strange guy, Shorter's The All Seeing Eye is a massive and challenging work that threatened to push Jazz beyond the usual forms and figures. Of course and undertaking of his magnitude required a top notch band, Shorter looked to Freddie Hubbard, Grachan Moncur III, James Spaulding, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Joe Chambers, as well as Wayne's weird brother, Al. In interviews Wayne would explain the linear narrative of the album starting with the god ("The All Seeing Eye"), creation ("Genesis"), ensuing war and discord ("Chaos"), god's reflection on his creation ("Face of the Deep"), and the triumph of evil ("Mephistopheles"). The better Jazz albums from his period had real trajectory in the sequencing of the tracks, The All Seeing Eye perfectly displays the care and thought put into recording a band playing an album rather than a cobbled together collection of pieces. Shorter is still considered one the greatest composers and arrangers that the Jazz world ever knew, and while all of his work reflects this rare genius, this record is extraordinary even for Shorter.

6 comments:

jazzbeard said...

Moncur AND Hancock AND Hubbard. geesh. I know evil wins in this one, but I'm in heaven.

Grk! said...

About time I lent my ears to some solo Shorter. Thanks!

east kansas banger said...

OK, starting my jazz odyssey with this one. Cosmic hearse wins again.

Chris said...

This is some cool shit.

Tom said...

Really dynamic album that explores a lot of different moods. Good call on the track sequencing to represent a narrative; that is definitely reflected in your write up for the Bobby Hutcherson album from a few weeks ago too.

The Blue Note albums on here are all very refreshing to hear. Most of my experience with free jazz has been all skronky stuff like Sun Ra or Ornette Coleman (which isn't a bad thing), but it is nice to hear albums like Tony Williams, Don Cherry, or Eric Dolphy that has subtle and progressive playing without lots of freakouts.

nano247 said...

I don't know anything about jazz, but I'm going to go ahead and DL this
thanks for expanding my brain