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Art After 5 will mark a significant milestone in April with the world premiere of an original composition by Wayne Shorter, widely acknowledged to be the greatest living composer of jazz music. Shorter has been hailed for breaking down the barriers between jazz and classical music and creating beautifully complex tunes. He was commissioned to produce a new work based on the Museum’s renowned collection of East Asian art. He will perform the new work on Friday, April 23, with the Shorter Quarter, which includes pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade, with Shorter on tenor and soprano saxophones. Prior to the performance, music journalist Tom Moon will moderate a panel discussion with the Shorter Quarter in the Van Pelt Auditorium from 3:00 – 4:30pm. The discussion is co-presented by the Philadelphia Music Project, a program of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, which is also underwriting the performance and commission.
Shorter has recorded over 20 albums and collaborated on dozens more with artists including Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the late 1950s, Miles Davis's second great quintet in the 1960s and the jazz fusion band Weather Report, which Shorter co-led in the 1970s. Many of his compositions have become standards.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the legendary Wayne Shorter,” Sara Moyn, the Museum’s Producer of Evening Programs, said. “It is always exciting to engage a contemporary artist with a specific aspect of the Museum’s collection and discover the surprising connections that can be made between different mediums and experiences. We look forward to sharing the result with our audience on April 23.”
Born in Newark, N.J. in 1933, Shorter attended Arts High School and earned his B.A. from New York University. After serving in the US Army from 1956 to 1958, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, quickly establishing himself as a performer and composer to watch. In 1964 Miles Davis invited him to go on the road with his band which included Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter. Shorter played with Davis for six years, recording a dozen albums.
Shorter remained in Davis's band after the breakup of the quintet in 1968, playing on early jazz fusion recordings such as “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew” (both 1969). While playing with the Miles Davis Quintet, Shorter recorded albums of his own for Blue Note Records, featuring almost exclusively his own compositions with a variety of line-ups, quartets and larger groups.
In 1970 Shorter left to form the Weather Report with Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous. They gained renown as a jazz “super group” whose bold, experimental sound came to define the new hybrid of music known as fusion or progressive jazz, until their eventual break-up in 1985.
Shorter continued to record and lead groups in jazz fusion styles, including touring in 1988 with guitarist Carlos Santana who appeared on the last Weather Report disc "This is This." In recent years he has also worked with Herbie Hancock. His current band -a quartet that includes pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade -was formed in 2000, the first permanent acoustic group under his leadership. The band plays Shorter’s own complex compositions, many of them reworkings of tunes from his substantial portfolio dating back to the 1960s.
Shorter has received six Grammy Awards and 13 other Grammy nomations to date. Billboard magazine describes Shorter as “Jazz’s pre-eminent saxophonist” and the New York Times has called him “the most important living composer in jazz.” He celebrated his 75th birthday with a concert at Carnegie Hall in December 2008.This program, including the commissioning and presentation, is made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts. About Art After 5 Art
Art After 5 offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy evening hours to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s approximately 100 first-floor galleries, in addition to the Asian Art galleries, which will be open specially for this evening, housing a vast collection of art from around the world. The experience is enhanced each Friday by a program of music, dance, food, and drinks in the Great Stair Hall. Performances are presented in two sets: 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 – 8:15 p.m., with guided tours of the galleries offered throughout the evening. A full cash bar and à la carte menu of appetizers, light entrées and desserts is available with table service in the Great Stair Hall. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 seniors, (ages 65 & over), $12 students with valid ID. Children ages 12 & under are free.