WAYNE SHORTER — Super Nova

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WAYNE SHORTER - Super Nova cover
3.61 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1969

Tracklist

A1 Super Nova 4:45
A2 Swee-Pea 4:35
A3 Dindi (pronounced "Jin-Jee") 9:45
B1 Water Babies 4:50
B2 Capricorn 7:45
B3 More Than Human 6:10

Total Time: 37:59

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Miroslav Vitous
Drums, Kalimba [African Thumb Piano] – Jack DeJohnette
Drums, Vibraphone [Vibes] – Chick Corea
Guitar – John McLaughlin, Sonny Sharrock
Guitar [Classical] – John McLaughlin (tracks: A2), Walter Booker (tracks: A3)
Percussion – Airto Moreira
Soprano Saxophone – Wayne Shorter
Vibraphone – Chick Corea
Vocals – Maria Booker (tracks: A3)

About this release

Blue Note BST 84332 (US)

Recorded on August 29th and September 2nd, 1969 at A&R Studios

Thanks to JS, snobb for the updates

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WAYNE SHORTER SUPER NOVA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
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-garde 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-garde/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-garde jazz record delivered with taste and restraint.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
Generally regarded as the late-60’s best Shorter album, Super Nova is one of those transitional album between his standard-y Blue Note albums and his future Miles-Weather Report fusion era. Closer to the Iska Odissey than Schizophrenia, SN is an important step to understand Shorter’s evolution and how he fit in with Mile’s IaSL and BB revolution. Graced with a dreamy blue cloud artwork and produced by Duke Pearson (of Bon Byrd fame), I think this is Wayne’s last BN album. Some of the usual Shorter suspects ae present, like McL Vitous, Airto and DeJohnette, and normally but strangely enough, Chick, but on drums and vibes

Opening on the fast-bop (double inferno drumming) title track, Shorter veers slightly dissonant and even dubs himself over, but that’s for the past. The following Swee-Pea contrast heavily with its predecessor, a slow Spanish-guitar piece (courtesy of Booker) with some un-attributed Rhodes (you think, uh?), or most likely Chick on vibes, as you’ll find out a tad later and Shorter’s gentle and soft sax wailing soaring over them. The 9-mins+ Dindee is the side’s highlight and features some African percussions and one can feel the equatorial jungle sounds filling your aural space, with Shorter squeaking and screeching into his sax. Rest assured, we’re still faraway from Impulse!’s New Thing, though. A slow African chant graces the mid-section and tends to overstay its welcome, but once the demented percussions reappear and kick-start the wild improvised finale where shorter honks and squonks his foghorn to signal the end of the madness.

The flipside sees the Babies taking their bath in a fairly conventional canvas, but the succession of chords are deceptively simple on the surface, and it might just be my fave on the album. The almost 8-mins Capricorn is a much deeper and sombre affair, with the double drumming setting a layer of percussions that is enhanced with Airto’s ever-inventive percussions, while McL’s restrained guitar and Vitous’ bass rumbles create a real rainforest quagmire over which Shorter soars like a falcon. The closing More Than human rest on McL and Sharrock’s guitar string-tortures over Airto’s percussions bed, Shorter sails in a semi-dissonant fashion, but it can be awkward, because too far “out there” for the other musos’ boss’ instructions.

While the IaSL or WR’s soundscape are rather distant from SN’s overall sound, I can’t help but thinking that his sax envies are just too extreme for the compositions created. Indeed, when Wayne goes “new thing” on his sax, he forgets to bring along the rest of the package. An interesting listen, but this certainly not as flawless as some may point it out as.

Ratings only

  • Fant0mas
  • KK58
  • Lock24
  • wideopenears
  • Drummer
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • zorn1
  • richby

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