Second Genesis by Wayne Shorter (Vee-Jay Records, VJS 3057)
Just the Facts: Eleven-months after releasing his debut album, Wayne Shorter was back in the recording studio for Second Genesis. Shorter is the lone hornsman this time around with an all-new rhythm section. Art Blakey is on drums, Cedar Walton is on piano, and Bob Cranshaw is on bass. Five of the eight tunes on this recording are Shorter’s compositions.
Initial Impressions: After hearing the singing quality melody to Ruby and the Pearl breeze in at about 50 seconds into Shorter’s second album, I am hooked. With a seeming adieu to Wayne’s first introduction eleven-months before, the prelude by Art Blakey yields to a steady pulse by Cedar Walton and Ruby and the Pearl sets off Second Genesis with six minutes of listening ecstasy. Shorter’s depth of sound and rich harmonic complexity throughout the album are infectious.
Is this the same Wayne Shorter who eleven months earlier had recorded Introducing Wayne Shorter? Indeed it is, but Shorter has left behind his seeming Coltraneesque sound in Introducing Wayne Shorter and seemingly altered his sound in this second beginning (Note: It returns in subsequent albums/recordings).
1) Ruby and the Pearl (Livingston & Evans): Wayne Shorter . . . Art Blakey . . . it's just addictive.
2) Pay As You Go: After a four bar introduction by Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter is off to the races with Pay As You Go. Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton
3) Second Genesis: Wayne Shorter followed by Cedar Walton, Bob Cranshaw on bass
4) Mr. Chairman: Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Shorter trading fours with Blakey
5) Tenderfoot: Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Shorter trading fours with Blakey
6) The Albatross: Ballad. Wayne Shorter--hear it and listen to it.
7) Getting To Know You (Rodgers & Hammerstein): Wayne Shorter followed by Cedar Walton
8) I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Rodgers & Hart): Ballad. Wayne Shorter
Summary: Between Wayne Shorter’s stunning improvisation and Art Blakey’s driving rhythm, this album is quite exceptional. Wayne Shorter’s second album with Vee-Jay Records should be owned and enjoyed by all jazz enthusiasts.