Wayne Shorter at the Phil

Capital of Culture year got off to a fantastic start tonight with a performance at the Phil by The Wayne Shorter Quartet with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. I felt there could be no better place to be on the planet.

Wayne Shorter had written all the scores – sending them to Liverpool in advance for the RLPO to work on. Conducting the Phil for the occasion was Clark Rundell,  artistic director of the Phil’s 10/10 Ensemble, which specialises in modern orchestral compositions.

“It’s very interesting music. It is difficult to recreate the freedom that a jazz quartet or pop group can have and still give them the same freedom within the context of an orchestra. But, if you have 80 people, the orchestra, trying to sing from the same hymn sheet, you have to be quite well structured and organised.

“What he has done here is to give the orchestra plenty to do, but which allows him and his musicians enough space to express themselves and still have that freedom and spontaneity always associated with jazz, especially the sort of jazz he plays which is so free and sometimes a stream of consciousness almost.”

Shorter studied music at New York University for four years before entering the jazz world professionally, so he knew the basics of composition. Only his name appears on the scores. “It is entirely his work,” says Rundell. “He is an experienced musician working in so many fields, such an imaginative creative guy.”

Wayne Shorter, sax

Danilo Perez piano

John Patitucci bass

Brian Blade drums