I love Wayne Shorter. He's the best saxophonist ever, in my opinion. Miles thought so too. Even over Coltrane and the people who were much more famous than Wayne, really. Everything was magical about him. I remember I was playing with Jaco Pastorius, who had just joined Weather Report. Wayne, of course, was one of the founding members of that band. Jaco was supposed to be in the studio recording with me, and he didn't show up. So I said to Henry, the engineer, ”I know where he is. Let's go get him.” So we went down to the rehearsal studio. Zawinul and Jaco were tossing a Frisbee on the ground. They were throwing it with their hand and priding themselves on how good they were at catching a Frisbee and everything.
At a certain point, they threw it at Peter Erskine, who was a new drummer in the band. It came towards him and he was terrified. He reached up and grabbed it and threw it. It wobbled all the way back. Jaco looked at him and kind of gave him the stink eye for a bad throw. Up on the stage meantime was Wayne with his horn tucked under his left arm. He was playing the keyboard with his right hand. Joe threw the Frisbee at Wayne, and it was coming straight at Wayne’s head, out of his peripheral vision. Wayne reached up, caught it and threw it back perfectly. You know, Wayne was more than a musician. He was like a little Zen master. He was mystical. He was the only musician that I could direct metaphorically or theatrically. I would say to him, “Come in here and get out here. Then come in really sad, and by the time you get to here… get really young.”
And he would play that! Or, I’d tell him, okay, Wayne, “you're the bird.” So he'd go out in the studio, put his horn in his mouth, and the first lick that came out of him was so like a bird. It was amazing. Then his hand was in the air waving for “one more take,” and I said, “no way. I'll punch you in, but I won't start over.” So I punched him in and I left the first lick that he played on the record. It was magnificent. He was just kind of unconscious when he played it, but it was so bird-like and so unusual. He was a beautiful musician. He will be sorely missed.
Wayne Shorter, the enigmatic, intrepid saxophonist who shaped the color and contour of modern jazz as one of its most intensely admired composers, died this morning in Los Angeles. He was 89.
Mr. Shorter had a sly, confiding style on the tenor saxophone, instantly identifiable by his low-gloss tone and elliptical sense of phrase. His sound was brighter on soprano, an instrument on which he left an incalculable influence; he could be inquisitive, teasing or elusive, but always with a pinpoint intonation and clarity of attack. - Nate Chinen
Wayne was Joni's 'go-to' sax player, and she asked him to record with her often- first on the Don Juan's Reckless Daughter album in 1977. He last recorded with her on 2002's Travelogue. Read more...
Joni brought “Both Sides Now” of the political aisle together, as lawmakers and musical artists celebrated her life and career at the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Joni was honored Wednesday in a star-studded ceremony at D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington.
The annual honor from the Library of Congress, named after George and Ira Gershwin, is considered the “nation’s highest award for influence, impact and achievement in popular music.” Mitchell’s music, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden told the packed audience at the tribute concert, “hits you straight to your heart, down to your soul.” -Kyle Balluck
- Song lyrics, list of albums, and video collection.
- Recent articles added to Library.
- Joni's concert dates and concert tours.
- Transcriptions for guitar, piano, and more.
- Joni's songs recorded by other artists.
- Love it some? Hate it some? Give us feedback on the website!
Do you know of a Joni-related event we've not listed here? Email the information to us and we'll post it here.
With her four excellent musicians, the Stuttgart singer Birgitta Menzer presents all her favorite songs by Joni, and the listener can experience what it means when Joni Mitchell says about herself "I'm painting with words and music".
Birgitta Menzer - lead vocals
Peter Windisch - open tuning guitar, vocals
Obe Pfluger - soprano, tenor saxophone
Stefan Funk - cajon, percussion, udu
Martin Menzer - keyboards, moogbass, vocals
More information here
Joni Mitchell. A Canadian icon. A non-linear musical on her life, music and art, Songs of A Prairie Girl illustrates her storied artistic journey. Five amazing artists reflect the different aspects of this one woman: the young Ingenue, the Free Spirit, the Explorer, the Critic and the Sage. More information here
Led by Mia Sheard each performer on the ticket will take turns on stage offering up their own stirring interpretations of Joni Mitchell recordings from across her career. Featuring Lori Cullen, Sheila Carabine (with more to come...) backed up a band including Robbie Grunwald, Chris Gartner, David Celia and Richard Granville-Martin. More information here