Wayne Shorter enters the multiverse with album and graphic novel

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Iconic saxophonist Wayne Shorter is set to make a dramatic return with his epic new triple album, Emanon (or 'no name' spelt backwards), accompanied by a self-penned graphic novel, illustrated by renowned artist Randy DuBurke and co-written with Monica Sly. Released on Blue Note on 24 August, the day before Shorter's 85th birthday, the first section of the album documents a 2013 studio session featuring his four-part orchestral work performed by the 34-piece Polish Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and his Quartet of Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade. The latter half of the album features the Quartet recorded live in London in 2015, the day after it was debuted at Carnegie Hall.

Conceptually complex, the album finds Shorter drawing on his lifelong love of comics and graphic novels, sci-fi, Buddhism and quantum physics, all of which has informed DuBurke's artwork, with an introductory note from bassist Esperanza Spalding. According to Shorter, the orchestral nature of the music stems from a conversation he had with Miles Davis just before the trumpeter's death in 1991: "He said, 'Wayne, I want you to write something for me with strings and an orchestra, but make sure you put a window in so I can get out of there.'" Early listens confirm that the dialogue between orchestra and Shorter's characteristically incisive soprano sax is densely detailed and empathetic, the saxophonist in imperious form throughout.

- Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.bluenote.com