The Soothsayer is the seventh album by Wayne Shorter, recorded on March 4, 1965 in the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, but not released on Blue Note until 1979. The album features five originals by Shorter and an arrangement of Jean Sibelius' "Valse Triste". An additional take of "Angola" was added to later CD releases.
Blue Note recorded this terrific Wayne Shorter session in 1965 but delayed its release for 14 long years—go figure. Unlike most Shorter dates from the 60s, Soothsayer breaks the quartet mold with the addition of Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) and James Spaulding (alto sax), while rhythm duties fall to Shorter’s fellow Miles Davis band mates, Tony Williams and Ron Carter, plus McCoy Tyner on piano. “Lost” sets a lovely, exotic modal mood that finds Shorter and the others free to strut their most lyrical stuff through a series of outstanding solos. Spaulding is the least familiar player here, but his solid, Bird-influenced playing shows why he was part of so many Blue Note dates from this period. “Angola” is a straight- ahead bopper; “The Big Push” is more melodically inventive. The title track is a playful, soaring delight in which Shorter and Spaulding unfurl notes from their horns like so much streaming banners. Things settle down with the beautiful ballad “Lady Day,” a nod to Billie Holiday, before finishing with a rather jaunty arrangement of Sibelius’ Valse Triste. The sound is focused and solid, with excellent weight and tonal balance, fine air and separation between players, tuneful bass, and rollicking dynamic life.
Wayne Shorter – tenor saxophone
Freddie Hubbard – trumpet
James Spaulding – alto saxophone
McCoy Tyner – piano
Ron Carter – bass
Tony Williams – drums
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