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Wayne Shorter - Super Nova CD (album) cover

SUPER NOVA

Wayne Shorter

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.07 | 5 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars I would have thought that a Wayne Shorter album from the late 60s would have had more of a jazz-rock flavor, but that's not the case with Super Nova. Recorded while Miles was recording In a Silent Way, this album by contrast is noisy, cluttered, polyrhythmic and part of that classic 60s avant-jazz sound that includes Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler. Yet, Shorter stands apart from the other three because his music is not as loud, forceful or cliche as theirs. Most of the tunes on this album feature Wayne playing an abstract lead melody on the soprano sax and then leading his band with a lengthy solo. No other members of the band solo, but their busy rhythm playing often adds a thick tapestry of counter melodies.

Shorter has arranged an interesting combination of musicians here. Having the avant-gardist Sonny Sharrock on guitar with the more rockin Jon McLaughlin seems like an odd pairing, but they work things out with McLaughlin often adapting some of Sharrock's more unique takes on guitar technique. Add to those two; Airto, DeJohnette and Corea on drums and tuned percussion, plus Mirslov Vitous on bass and you have a very full busy sound, but thankfully handled with sensitivity and never particularly loud or annoying.

Two songs break the jazz improv mold, Sweet Pea's long oboe like melody and double classical guitar accompaniment sounds like a modern concert hall piece, and A.C. Jobim's classic Dindi is surrounded with an avant/African intro and outro. If you are looking for Weather Report or 60s Miles you won't find it here, but you will find an excellent avant jazz record delivered with taste and restraint.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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