Feb 24, 2016
Fifty years ago today, Wayne Shorter led a quartet into – where else? – Rudy Van Gelder’s Studio in Englewood, New Jersey to finish recording one of his classic albums, Adam’s Apple. Present at the sessions – the title track was recorded on February 3rd and then the rest of the album finished in a second session on February 24th – were Shorter on saxophone; fellow Miles Davis band member Herbie Hancock on piano; Reggie Workman on bass; and Joe Chambers on drums.
The album may be best known for having the first recording of the Shorter composition “Footprints”, which has become a jazz standard. The song begins as a straightforward 12-bar minor blues format. However, by the ninth bar of the tune, the harmonics have changed dramatically from the typical 1-4-5 format, part of the reason the tune has become a touchstone for jazz players.
A year later, during the recording of Miles Smiles, the tune was revamped in style and meter even more, becoming what one critic called “the first overt expression of systemic, African-based cross-rhythm used by a straight ahead jazz group.”
Read more about the tune’s musical structure on Peter Spitzer’s Music Blog.