What can I say about Wayne Shorter that has not already been said? This 1966 classic Adam’s Apple is another great album in a long list of great albums by Mr. Wayne Shorter. This album has a multitude of different styles, original compositions by Wayne Shorter, (and one by Herbie Hancock and Jimmy Rowles). With Wayne Shorter, on sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Reggie Workman on bass, and Joe Chambers on drums, this album was not just built for success, but for history. And, on that note let us begin with the title track “Adam’s Apple”.
The title track begins with drums, bass, and some Herbie. Wayne Shorter comes in with a deep sound, strong inflection, and, most importantly, a great melody. The hits are excellently placed and the solos are, for lack of a better word, groovin. Wayne comes in with a blues feel but deviates from it and plays around with a few different melodic ideas. After his solo Herbie Hancock solos with a similar blues feel, lots of heavy comping coinciding with his solo, it reminds me of his record ” Watermelon Man”, after Hancock solos Wayne come back with the melody. I believe this track is an excellent example of why I love this album and what makes Wayne Shorter special. The track is energetic, it’s a perfect record to begin the album with, and Wayne Shorter doesn’t just play as fast as possible. He picks the right notes and puts them in the right spots.
The next track is written by Jimmy Rowles and it’s called 502 Blues (Drinkin’ and Drivin’). I love this track it still has that blues feel but it’s been slowed down a bit and given to us in the form of a waltz (Waltz is a tune that is in 3/4 compared to most songs which are, generally speaking, in 4/4). Wayne has an excellent solo on this record, I especially love the interaction between Shorter and Herbie. They are listening and reacting to each other so much it is as if they are sharing the solo together. Herbie’s solo is just as great, and perhaps even better. He has intricate, modern lines, and great comping to not only harmonize himself, but to add energy and give direction to his solo.
“El Guacho” is somewhat a left turn for this album as Wayne goes into a bossa nova style song. It’s a nice left turn though it’s a nice change of pass and I especially enjoy Chambers’ drumming. He just makes his hits and stays in the groove, you can hear him throughout the entire song, but he is never at too loud a level. This may not sound like much but trust me ask any Jazz musician a drummer who can say in the groove and is aware of how loud or overbearing he can be is rare. Again, both solos are great, and perhaps it is the pianist in me, but I like Herbie’s solo better. He pushes this tune and tests the boundaries of tonality and harmony.
“Footprints” is my favorite song on this album. It has a memorable bass line, a beautiful melody, and I love the modal feel and the 3/4 time. As I have said the song begins with a memorable bass line laying down our foundation. Then Wayne comes in with the melody, and I love the hits they make after the melodic idea has been fully expressed. When Wayne Shorter comes in for his solos wow he just builds, and builds, and builds. First, he has a just a few notes and establishes the idea he wants to play with. Then he begins to pick up the speed, he takes the idea and mutates it, changing it harmonically, but keeping most of the rhythm. He continues to speed up and pick up different ideas and do with them as he pleases. Herbie, as usual, adds energy and different ideas with his voicings. He, along with the rest of the rhythm section, add a lot of energy and help Shorter build up his solo. Herbie continues to play great; great melodic ideas, great voicings, great manipulation of time, this record is fantastic and everyone does their part to contribute. I especially enjoy Workman’s bass solo it’s a nice change of pace. The song concludes as we return to the original melody and fade out.
Only a few more tracks remain on this album “Teru”, “Chief Crazy Horse”, and, if you have the remastered edition, you also have the Herbie Hancock composed “The Collector”. Of these three songs I enjoyed “Chief Crazy Horse” the most, it just sounds like a perfect conclusion to the album. However, all these songs deserve multiple listens, and you really can’t go wrong either way. Overall this is a must have in your music collection and the scary part is this may not even be Wayne Shorter at his best, he has other albums just as good if not better i.e. JuJu and Speak No Evil. He is still alive performing and recording today. So please, see him if he’s is in your area, I promise you the monetary cost will pale in comparison to the experience. And, as always, Thank You for staying in The Jazz Loop.