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The Soothsayer / Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter - The Soothsayer

Blue Note Records

Wayne Shorter cut some of his finest solo albums for Blue Note in the mid-1960s with 'Speak No Evil' being a particular high point. However, this session from the same year was inexplicably shelved for fifteen years and with repeated listens is on a par with the other recordings. The line up of Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner and Tony Williams speaks for itself. Key tracks include the driving pulse of 'Angola' with a delicious solo from Shorter and beautiful comping from Tyner. In contrast 'Lady Day' is a lovely ballad and a fitting tribute to Billie Holliday with the lyricism in Shorter's playing and compostional prowess emphasized. The title track testifies to the intensity of the collective playing, but it is the melodic nature of the ensemble that impresses here and distinguishes this album from the freer form of say 'The All Seeing Eye'. Shorter in his prime.

Tim Stenhouse, 05/08