Footprints Live! (Verve Music Group)

Wayne Shorter

Released May 9, 2002

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Instrumental Album 2003

Jazzwise Album of the Year 2002

DownBeat Album of the Year Critics Poll

Grand Prix de l’Académie du Jazz 2002




Attention: this momentous live recording is the first all-acoustic album Wayne Shorter has released in more than 30 years. Expectations naturally run high when it comes to one of the premier saxophonists and composers of the post-Parker jazz era, but Shorter has come through for us all. His magisterial tenor and soprano horns are displayed in all their splendor– jazz doesn’t come more uplifting. His solos have all the rigor and poetry we associate with his memorable tenure as a member of Miles Davis’s historic quintet back in the 1960s. It doesn’t hurt that Shorter has assembled a world-class band around him. Pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade sound as if they are practically levitating from being in the presence of the master. This quartet brings exciting new life to such Shorter classics as “Masquelero,” “JuJu,” “Sanctuary,” and “Atlantis.” As a foursome, Shorter’s quartet ranks with the best ensembles heard in the last decade; for his part, the leader still sounds like no other player on earth.

Track Listing:

1. Sanctuary (Wayne Shorter) 5:31

2. Masquelero (Wayne Shorter) 8:28

3. Valse Triste (Art Pepper / Wayne Shorter / Jean Sibelius) 7:59

4. Go (Wayne Shorter) 5:01

5. Aung San Suu Kyi (Wayne Shorter) 9:28

6. Footprints (Wayne Shorter) 7:55

7. Atlantis (Wayne Shorter) 8:28

8. Juju (Wayne Shorter) 10:39


Wayne Shorter: tenor saxophone (1-4, 6-8), soprano saxophone (5, 6, 8)

Danilo Perez: piano 

John Patitucci: bass 

Brian Blade: drums

Recorded July 14 – 24, 2001, in Gastiez, Spain; Marseilles, France; Perugia, Italy

Producer: Wayne Shorter
Executive Producer: Richard Seidel
Engineer and Mixing: Rob Griffin

Mastering: Mark Wilder
Art Direction: Hollis King

Photography: Ronnie Wright, Kate Garner


Could saxophonist Wayne Shorter have known that the songs he wrote and recorded back in the ’60s would be fresher than ever over 30 years later? Of course not, but he cranks them out on his new disc Footprints Live! with confident, fresh, Scope-tinged breath. Perhaps the jazz icon didn’t realize how timeless his tunes would be, but he knew he’d never lose his cool.

Last year Shorter put together a group of fine musicians – pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade – a group that resulted in Shorter’s first-ever live recording. Give Footprints Live! a spin and get a taste of the juicy, ripe fruit of this acoustic quartet. Fearless leaps toward the next sonic apex keep the players in unconflicting paths to a metaphysical freedom. Blade can feel it and he’s not afraid to express it with frequent whoops and “whoas,” and percussive outbursts. But Footprints Live! isn’t all jubilance and joy. Shorter gets real solemn sometimes, in that soft, beau-tiful way he lets the notes linger like incense smoke in the sweet air. And the way Perez shimmers around the sax sounds, on moments like the end of “Footprints,” is forlorn gorgeousness redefined. The creativity and spontaneous spirit of the group recalls the Miles Davis Quintet that Shorter played with in the late ’60s. Polyphonic confluence on songs like “Masquelero” and “JuJu” level into sultry, gaze-inducing rhythms. These songs are sensual in ways that only the taste buds would know. Shorter and Perez’ interplay is like seltzer — clear and effervescent. Patitucci’s dynamite bass solos ascend into sheer exuberance. With a naked, flung into the wind way, these musicians express themselves completely, and their unrestrained nature creates constant inspiration. Each moment on Footprints Live! seems new, and the genre known as jazz rejuvenates itself once again.

Celeste Sunderland (All About Jazz)