Praise You: A Wayne Shorter Tribute Mix by Steam Down.

There’s no denying American composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s impact on jazz, be that through his early work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, his compositions with Miles Davis, or his output as part of Weather Report.

After signing to the legendary Blue Note in the early 60s, he enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the label, who have been a home for the vast majority of his releases. Next month sees the release of Blue Note Re:imagined, an album that brings together some of the most exciting young voices in jazz – the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Ezra Collective, Nubya Garcia, Poppy Ajudha, Jordan Rakei and more – to rework a collection of classic Blue Note tracks.

Amongst them is a rendition of Shorter’s 1980 hard bop release ‘Etcetera’ by Deptford-based artist collective Steam Down. Founder, multi-instrumentalist and composer Ahnansé, hails Shorter’s composition and arrangement style, particularly his emotive chord changes and melodic choices, as having a huge impact on his own approach. Alongside an interview about Shorter’s influence, Ahnansé puts together a mix of his favourites that charts the history of the composer’s sprawling back catalogue.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud Select. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download the mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid.

Steam Down’s version of Wayne Shorter’s Etcetera, which appears on the Blue Note Re:imagined album, is out now.

Why does Wayne Shorter mean so much to you?

As young musician, I was always inspired by the composition and arrangements of Wayne Shorter’s tunes. The melodic choices and harmonic movement in his chord changes is so emotive and vivid. It’s as if you are exploring an entirely new world. Wayne’s world. As you look through his discography you can see sonic exploration of otherworldly concepts, ideas and spaces. The adventurous nature is what I find most compelling.

What makes a Wayne Shorter record so unique?

His vision, playfulness and no boundaries approach to music. It’s very pure musical expression devoid of too much ego. It’s not trying to look and sound like anything else other than his interest at that time or moment.

When did you first hear Wayne Shorter’s music and what impact did it have on you?

I first heard Wayne Shorter when I was 15. Speak No Evil was the record that first grabbed me but the real impact happened years after with Beyond The Sound Barrier where he deconstructs and reconstructs some of his classics. This music takes a little musical maturity to get into but once you’re open there is nothing quite like it.

What’s your favourite Wayne Shorter track and why?

Can’t answer this there are two many. A few would be ‘Aung San Suu Ki’ and ‘Adventures Aboard the Golden Mean’.

How did you approach this mix? What did you want it to say about Wayne Shorter’s music?

I kept the mix simple, I picked some of my favourite tracks across the eras from his early stuff on bluenote, collaborations with Miles which lead on to the formation of his next band Weather Report, and then finally the return to the acoustic setup with his current quartet.

How has Wayne Shorter impacted you and Steamdown?

I think the freedom of expression, the desire to explore the current sound boundaries, pure creativity and inventiveness, taking risks to see whats on the otherside and not worrying about if it’s likeable or not but trying to make it feel right in the moment.

What would you say is Wayne Shorter’s biggest legacy on music?

Leaving great music for the world to listen to and being a good person.

Steam Down’s version of Wayne Shorter’s Etcetera, which appears on the Blue Note Re:imagined album, is out now.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud Select. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download the mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid.

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