Wayne Shorter, Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist, dies at 89

Wayne Shorter, a Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist, died Thursday at age 89. Photo by Dennis Brack/UPI
Wayne Shorter, a Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist, died Thursday at age 89. Photo by Dennis Brack/UPI | License Photo

March 2 (UPI) -- Wayne Shorter, a Grammy-winning saxophonist who helped shape the sound of modern jazz, died Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 89 years old.

Shorter was first nominated for a Grammy in 1973 and went on to win 12 times. His last win was in January for best improvised jazz solo performance for "Endangered Species."


Shorter was born on Aug. 25, 1933, in Newark, Nj., and developed a curiosity in music during his childhood. He studied music at New York University in the mid-1950s, and then joined a band called Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

In the 1960's, Shorter joined Miles Davis, Ron Carter, drummer Tony Williams and pianist Herbie Hancock in the Miles Davis Quintet.

"The six years I was with Miles we never talked about music," Shorter told NPR in 2013. "Miles, on his table, he had scores of Koussevitzky, the conductor ... and then he had another book on architecture and another book on law. Just sitting on the table. And then he'd talk about clothes and fashion."


Hancock called Shorter his "best friend" in a statement shared to CNN on Thursday

Shorter would go on to co-found the Weather Report, one of the most popular jazz-rock bands of the 1970's. He also collaborated with a plethora of famous musicians including singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, the guitarist Carlos Santana and the band Steely Dan on their 1977 song "Aja."

Shorter also became a devoted buddhist, turning to a Japanese strain of the religion.

"I was hearing about Buddhism," Shorter told NPR in 2013. "But then I started to look into it and I started to open up and find out what was going on in the rest of the world instead of the west."

Religion continued to influence Shorter throughout the rest of his career.

"We have a phrase [in Buddhism]: hom nim yoh," he said in the 2013 NPR interview."It means 'From this moment forward is the first day of my life.' So put 100 percent into the moment that you're in because the present moment is the only time when you can change the past and the future."

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