WAYNE SHORTER — Speak No Evil

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WAYNE SHORTER - Speak No Evil cover
4.24 | 20 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1966

Filed under Post Bop
By WAYNE SHORTER

Tracklist

A1 Witch Hunt (8:07)
A2 Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum (5:50)
A3 Dance Cadaverous (6:41)
B1 Speak No Evil (8:21)
B2 Infant Eyes (6:50)
B3 Wild Flower (6:02)

CD re-release bonus (1999):
7. Dance Cadaverous (alternate take) (6:35)

Total Time: 48:51

Line-up/Musicians

Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone
Freddie Hubbard — trumpet
Herbie Hancock — piano
Ron Carter — bass
Elvin Jones — drums

About this release

Blue Note BLP 4194 (US)

Recorded on December 24, 1964 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Thanks to snobb, kazuhiro, dreadpirateroberts, js for the updates

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Remastered · Extra tracks
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WAYNE SHORTER SPEAK NO EVIL reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
Although Wayne Shorter had been involved in some great music since the beginning of his career, with his 1965 release, “Speak No Evil”, he really began to show his remarkable gifts as a composer. About half of this album is made up of the sort of inovative hard bop that Wayne was already known for, while the rest of the album reveals an inventive composer who writes long winding melodies, that defy typical patterns, backed by lush harmonic changes that merge modern jazz with the advanced harmonies of modern concert hall composers. Shorter’s compositional ideas have been some of the most influential in modern jazz, yet very few can duplicate the high originality of his work.

In many ways, “Speak No Evil” can be seen as a warm up to the post bop masterpieces, such as “Nefertiti” and “Sorcerer”, that Wayne will create over the next few years with Miles Davis. With Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter on board for “Speak”, most of Miles’ future band is already here working out the ideas that they will bring to Miles’ second great quintet. Certainly Shorter’s more experimental compositions bring out some very creative playing from Herbie Hancock as well. To fans of Miles’ second quintet, its interesting to hear his future side men present the musical seeds that they will bring to maturity later with Miles.

Its also interesting to hear Shorter’s tenor playing back in these early days of his career. Overall his playing on “Speak”, as well as most of his earlier albums, is stronger, busier and a bit bluesier than the more sparse and abstract style he would develop later in his career. On the hard bop tunes he has a big full sound reminiscent of Coltrane, but also with a few wacky melodic leaps that show Shorter had been appreciating. Erik Dolphy as well. Possibly the best cuts though are the more introspective “Dance Cadaverous” and “Infant Eyes”, where Herbie and Wayne have the time and room to really stretch things out.
dreadpirateroberts
Swinging hard bop with a gentle surprise.

Within one of the all time greatest album sleeves, Shorter has collected a top-notch group of musicians (Hubbard, Hancock, Carter and Elvin Jones on the kit) for a strong but not always distinctive set of hard bop.

As ever, there is a generous sharing of soloing space across the record, exemplified in the upbeat opener 'Witch Hunt.' From there the album takes a sharp turn, with the more measured 'Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum' (a highlight for me) and 'Dance Cadaverous' with its menacing piano lurking beneath the sometimes gentle horns. The piece has some restrained playing from the entire group, and Hancock especially shines.

The album picks up the pace again with 'Speak No Evil' and shows Shorter mixing up his phrasing with some inspired soloing. It's probably the hardest track on the album, as 'Infant Eyes' is more of a sparse and tenderly played ballad (another highlight) and 'Wild Flower' occupies the middle ground between 'Witch Hunt' and 'Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum.'

It's a nice place to start with Shorter, or with hard bop in general, as the musicians on this one are all superb and the tracks are solid originals. Overall however, I can't go as high as five stars, because the album doesn't really stay with me the way some of my other favourites do. But thanks to the lovely surprise of 'Infant Eyes' or the menacing and understated 'Dance Cadaverous' I've no problem rating 'Speak No Evil' at four stars. As it says up top, 'an excellent addition to any jazz music collection.'

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