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Lifetime Achievement Award

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter has been called a genius, a trailblazer, a visionary, and one of the world’s greatest composers. Born in Newark, NJ in 1933, he grew up pouring through comic books and imagining adventures in other galaxies of undiscovered universes. He studied Music at NYU, and upon graduating, Wayne was drafted into the Army. The following year, he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. After four years, Miles Davis invited Wayne to join his 2nd historical quintet, with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter. This marked the beginning of Wayne Shorter’s exploration of unchartered territories, that led him to form with pianist Joe Zawinul, the world’s first fusion band, Weather Report.


Over the next decade, he produced a succession of jazz albums for the Columbia label, not to mention, collaborating with celebrated songstress Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Carlos Santana, and Don Henley among other recordings. In 1996, Shorter released “High Life,” which received the Grammy for best contemporary Jazz album.


Two years later, he reunited with longtime friend, Herbie Hancock for an intimate duet recording entitled, “1 + 1,” winning another Grammy for their collaboration. In 2000 Wayne formed his first acoustic group under his name, The Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade, which still remains. At the same time, Wayne began exploring the world of classical music. He paired with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, and the BBC Chamber Orchestra, unveiling his new symphonic repertoire.


Shorter is the recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and most recently, the prestigious Polar Music Prize. With a total of 11 Grammy Awards under his belt, Wayne refuses to slow down. Currently, in collaboration with Esperanza Spalding, he is composing his first opera, Iphigenia, his ultimate expression honoring the nobility of humanity—to awaken to one’s inherent power. Wayne believes that there are no limits, “To me Jazz means: I dare you.” 

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