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Speak No Evil Original recording remastered, Extra tracks

4.7 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Speak No Evil
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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, March 23, 1999
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Product Description

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Wayne Shorter's compositions helped define a new jazz style in the mid-'60s, merging some of the concentrated muscular force of hard bop with surprising intervals and often spacious melodies suspended over the beat. The result was a new kind of "cool," a mixture of restraint and freedom that created a striking contrast between Shorter's airy themes and his taut tenor solos and which invited creative play among the soloists and rhythm section. The band on this 1964 session is a quintessential Blue Note group of the period, combining Shorter's most frequent and effective collaborators. Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Elvin Jones merge their talents to create music that's at once secure and free flowing, sometimes managing to suggest tension and calm at the same time. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1964
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Blue Note
  • Run Time: 48 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000I8UH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,599 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the space of only about four years in the mid-1960s, Wayne Shorter put out about 7 albums, any one of which could have revolutionized jazz music. In my view, Speak No Evil is the best of them all (though the competition is incredible). Basically, jazz music entered a new and original phase through Shorter's compositions. In the '30s and '40s, people played swing and then bebop, which were "jazzed up" approaches to standard tunes. The '50s and early '60s saw a period of new jazz composition, and a self-conscious introduction of new styles that were centered around instrumental style rather than around standard tunes. These new styles definitely broke new ground, but they still were mostly built around virtuoso-style improvising that exploited the harmonic possibilities of the chord structure of a song. Though it is obviously indebted to this tradition, Shorter's compositions shifted the focus away from "blowing" and onto the beauty of the compositions. Playing these songs emphasized more the evoking of the appropriate mood and texture rather than just using them as generic platforms for playing the same scales and licks. Basically, these songs invited new forms of exploration--and for that reason they remain some of the most popular songs for contemporary jazz bands to play. This album, Speak No Evil, is a real pleasure to listen to, and that is true the first time and the five-hundredth time. This is one of the tiny handful of albums that can without question be called the greatest in the history of jazz. Everyone should have the pleasure of listening to this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Wayne Shorter writes some of the most memorable tunes in the jazz idiom and on this recording his talent for composition is front and center. With a group that consists of Hancock, Carter and Elvin Jones on drums the music is haunting and rhythmically complex. The bonus here is the superb playing of Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. To step into what is essentially Miles Davis' shoes with this group of Davis alumni must have been a mind-blowing responsibility but Hubbard quickly established his own idenity and his playing is one of the highlights of this set. Speak no Evil is a classic of 60's modal jazz and deserves a place in any serious collection.
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Format: Audio CD
This dynamic quintet marks one of the peaks in jazz creation and interplay in it's musical history. With an allstar cast of Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Elvin Jones, the music was destined to be nothing less than amazing from the start. But amazing players is not all it takes to make an album worth a spot on the jazz timeline. The day of recording it was obvious that everybody was on. Fueled by the lyrically sad and revolutionary compositions of Shorter, their creative drive was explosive. Being a drummer this album has taught me a huge chunk of what I know about the concepts of swing and interplay. This music has nothing to do with showing off or proving something to one's audience. The fantastic thing about Shorter is his ability to say exactly what he wants and yet the music comes across in a way that's "medicine for your ears" according to Herbie Hancock. Shorter was the only person to bring music to Miles that never had to be changed because it was perfect and this album shows exactly that; a solemn soul creating something far beyond music.

Witchhunt is a dynamic opening to the cd. The rhythmic explosion at the intro already tells the audience with in it's first few seconds of sound that the album's a classic. It's interesting to note how the intro is a great example of call and response, a somewhat foreshadowing of the interplay to come in the solos. Elvin's swing into the head is driving and powerful. All the tunes and solos on this cd are examples of Wayne's ability to use space. Witchhunt is no exception with a bouncy rhythm of 8th notes for two bars followed by space for two bars. The horns are somewhat behind the beat, defining their unique concept of swing. Wayne understood what the rhythm section was there for.
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Format: Audio CD
Enough said? No, I'm afraid I can't help but gush about my favorite jazz album.
I can't figure why this album seems to sometimes be lumped in with the "avant-garde", because all of it is eminently listenable. In fact, perhaps what makes this record so uniquely great is how consistently accessible and ear-pleasing it is, yet never shallow, commercial or boring. The tunes are uniformly fantastic, the charts always interesting, and the playing is wonderfully subtle and dynamic all around; perfect moments of musical interaction abound. Shorter's prowess as a composer is amply documented on his many great albums, perhaps never more so than on _Speak No Evil_. Highlights include the irresistibly swinging "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum", the intriguingly geometric and mysterious "Dance Cadaverous", and the breathtakingly gorgeous ballad "Infant Eyes".
Wayne Shorter mixed-and-matched a lot with his ensembles as a leader, never recording an album with the same band twice, leading bands anywhere from a quartet to a sextet (and the odd octet). But on _Speak No Evil_ he seems to have hit on the perfect band for his music. All props and praise to McCoy Tyner, who also recorded a lot with Wayne, but Herbie Hancock, with his inimitable subtleties and tonal shadings, is the perfect pianist to accompany Wayne. Elvin Jones on drums is a welcome addition to any lineup, needless to say. He really accentuates and underlines the *swing* inherent in the tunes here. The bright tone and spry exuberance of Freddie Hubbard on trumpet is a perfect counterpoint to Shorter's somewhat melancholy lyricism. Ron Carter anchors the bass quite admirably with a lot of nice touches of syncopation, but he's not as noticeable as he would later be with the Miles Davis Quintet.
I just can't say enough about this CD. It is gorgeous, it is stunning, it is perfect jazz.
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