Dec 24, 2014
Wayne Shorter had only recently been drafted into Miles Davis’ Quintet when he entered Rudy Van Gelder’s studios in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Shorter had already released five albums under his own name, and had been a leader during the previous five years with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
The sessions that took place on Christmas Eve 1964 represent one of the highlights of Shorter’s career. It’s mainly hard bop material with exciting changes and melodies. Of the songs he wrote for the sessions, Shorter once said that he was "thinking of misty landscapes with wild flowers and strange, dimly-seen shapes — the kind of place where folklore and legends are born. And then I was thinking of things like witch burnings too."
The quintet that day mirrored in many ways the group that Davis was putting together. Shorter (sax), Herbie Hancock (piano) and Ron Carter (bass) would be 3/5 of Miles’ group, and they were joined by John Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, a Shorter pal from the Jazz Messenger days. Several of the songs recorded that day have reached standard status – the title track, “Infant Eyes”, “Witch Hunt” and “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum” are all regular tunes called on bandstands to this day.
A few weeks later,
Shorter, Hancock, and Carter began work on E.S.P.,
signalling the arrival of the Second Great Quintet.