EMANON WAS NAMED THE #1 JAZZ ALBUM OF 2018 BY NY TIMES & NPR MUSIC IN ADDITION TO BEST OF 2018 PICKS IN ROLLING STONE, PASTE, BILLBOARD, LA TIMES, JAZZTIMES, JAZZIZ & MORE
SHORTER’S BANNER YEAR CULMINATED WITH THE 10-TIME GRAMMY-WINNING JAZZ LEGEND RECEIVING THE PRESTIGIOUS KENNEDY CENTER HONORS
“Mr. Shorter stands among jazz’s great composers. His works form touchstones for the development of jazz musicianship and vistas from which even casual listeners expand their horizons…
Mr. Shorter’s music has long conveyed both an elder’s wisdom and a childlike sense of wonder...
This package frames such ideas with splendor, elevating his stature in unexpected ways.”
—Wall Street Journal
“one of the most ambitious jazz projects of the last 25 years, brimming with ingenuity and intergalactic lasers…
It is an exclusive delve into an artist who has shared his innermost vibrations with the world for more than 60 years.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Emanon is another milestone, combining bold orchestral statements with the mercurial spontaneity of Shorter’s remarkable long-running quartet…
When Shorter’s soprano sax soars above the full 30-odd member ensemble, improvising exuberant responses to the composed passages, the effect is magical.”
25 January 2019 (Toronto, ON) - Emanon, the acclaimed new album from Jazz legend, 10-time GRAMMY winner, and recent Kennedy Center Honors recipient Wayne Shorter, is available today digitally from all digital retailers and streaming services. The expansive triple-album was originally released as a physical set on vinyl and CD packaged with its companion graphic novel which was co-written by Shorter and Monica Sly and illustrated by Randy DuBurke. The graphic novel is also available now in digital bookstores. Get Emanon on vinyl HERE and stream HERE.
Emanon features original music by Shorter performed by The Wayne Shorter Quartet—Shorter on soprano and tenor saxophone, Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums—with and without the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Emanon is nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album at the 61st GRAMMY Awards, which will take place February 10 in Los Angeles. It was also named the #1 Jazz Album of 2018 by The New York Times and NPR Music, in addition to Best of 2018 picks in Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, Billboard, Los Angeles Times, JazzTimes, Jazziz, and more.
In February 2013, upon the release of Without A Net, The Wayne Shorter Quartet performed four of Shorter’s compositions with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Shorter immediately brought the quartet and orchestra into the studio to record those same four pieces: “Pegasus”, “Prometheus Unbound”, “Lotus” and “The Three Marias”.
“Just before Miles [Davis] passed,” Shorter remembers, “He said, ‘Wayne, I want you to write something for me with strings and an orchestra, but make sure you put a window in so I can get out of there.’ He definitely did not say, ‘Make the strings swing.’ Working with an orchestra is like crossing the street and talking to a neighbor you haven't talked to for 10 years. It's the thing the world needs now: joining forces.”
The title of this four-composition orchestral suite is also Shorter’s title character for the graphic novel: Emanon, or “no name” spelled backward. “When Dizzy Gillespie had a piece of music in the late 40s called ‘Emanon’, it hit me way back then as a teenager: ‘No name’ means a whole lot. The connection with Emanon and artists and other heroes is the quest to find originality, which is probably the closest thing you can get to creation,” Shorter says. “Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and some comic heroes, they lose their power or identity and become something called human, so that a human being has to do the same thing that Superman and all of them do.”
Later, Blue Note president Don Was introduced Shorter, who is an avid comic book aficionado, to DuBurke’s illustrations and the saxophonist became enamored with the Brooklyn-raised, Switzerland-based artist’s work in graphic novels on Malcolm X and Deadwood Dick. “I could sort of project myself into Randy’s general state of mind from childhood,” Shorter says. “I could see it in his drawings. He has those ‘I wish’ lines in his work; he’s aiming for how he wants the world to be.”
After DuBurke enthusiastically joined the project and had a long talk with Shorter about the composition titles, quantum mechanics, and much else, he got to work using those four pieces as inspiration. “I’d put the Emanon cuts on,” DuBurke says. “Whatever came into my head as I sat at the drawing board, I sketched in black and white or in color. Wayne said, ‘Nobody’s gonna edit you, just go with it.’ So I felt entirely free creatively, and delivered some first story sketches to Wayne.”
With DuBurke’s panels in hand, Sly, a screenwriter who helped Shorter and Herbie Hancock write their viral 2016 Open Letter to the Next Generation of Artists, worked with Shorter to develop and structure the graphic novel. Central to the story was the multiverse theory, or the idea that the universe we inhabit is one of an infinite number that all exist in parallel realities. Listening to each of the four orchestral tracks, Sly and Shorter “came up with a fear that matched the vibe of the track,” Sly says. “That ‘fear’ then defined the world Emanon would be inhabiting in that specific universe of the story. And each of the four universes exists simultaneously—from what I know, that’s very in line with the improvisational, everything-exists-in-the-moment aspect of jazz.”
“Emanon is like so many characters in that role of trying to find a way in the world, and also make the world around him a better place,” DuBurke says. Longtime fans of Shorter may read something of the musician himself into the character. “Wayne is fearless in the face of adversity,” Sly says. “Excited by the prospect of the unknown. Brave enough to stand up for justice and stand out in a crowd, yet sensitive and aware of the value of each life around him.”
“Wayne is the great American composer,” Patitucci says. “It’s always been a matter of him having the chance to display all that he can do in large musical forms, and also in his other areas of brilliance and imagination like art and storytelling, too. So Emanon is a fulfillment of a lifetime vision.”
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