Ivan & Alyosha

All the Times We Had, Ivan & Alyosha’s first full-length album, encapsulates the personalized blend of rousing songcraft, infectious melodic hooks and thoughtful lyrical introspection that’s already endeared the band to just about anyone who’s witnessed one of their effortlessly uplifting live shows.

The Seattle combo—which borrows its name from a pair of characters from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov—delivers its songs of struggle, perseverance and spirituality with a resilient, upbeat attitude that’s reflected in their bubbly brew of stirringly strummed folk-rock guitars, surging instrumental interaction and a bright, buoyant blend of voices that reflects the band members’ family-style camaraderie, evoking a timeless pop ideal that’s as affecting emotionally as it is pleasing to the ear.

The intrepid ensemble—comprised of core members Tim Wilson (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Ryan Carbary (guitars, piano and vocals), Tim Kim (electric guitar and vocals) and Tim’s brother Pete Wilson (bass and vocals), plus a revolving assortment of friends and collaborators on keyboards, drums and other instruments—has spent much of the past two years on the road, traveling the highways and back roads of America, often with wives and children in tow, building a loyal fan base with their joyous, high-energy live performances.

Ivan & Alyosha’s prior releases and live shows have won the band copious critical acclaim. They’ve also done successful stints opening for the likes of Aimee Mann, Brandi Carlile, the Low Anthem, Rosie Thomas and John Vanderslice. Since early in its existence, the group has been embraced enthusiastically by alternative radio, performing multiple on-air sessions for NPR as well as receiving notable support from such key stations as KCRW, KEXP, WFUV and WNYC.

The same qualities that originally won Ivan & Alyosha media attention and a devoted grass-roots audience are apparent on All the Times We Had, which the band co-produced in collaboration with keyboardist/engineer Chad Copelin, and mixed by Jesse Lauter (The Low Anthem). The 11-song album effortlessly captures the warmth and immediacy of Ivan & Alyosha’s live performances, lending added resonance to such lyrically compelling, melodically arresting tunes as “Be Your Man,” “Running for Cover,” “Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” “The Fold” and the album’s’ bittersweetly reflective title track, which features guest vocals by the band’s frequent touring partner and longstanding admirer Aimee Mann.

“We didn’t get it perfect, but I definitely think we got it right,” Tim Wilson says of the new album. “We really worked hard to get a live vibe, and to capture that inspiration that we get when we’re on the road, when everybody’s together and feeding off of each other. You can nit-pick and edit everything until it sounds perfect, but we were more concerned with just getting the best performances we could. I think that it’s more mature and more focused, and closer to what we do live, than the records that we’d done before. We definitely had moments in the studio where it like, ‘Oh, wow, this is special.’”

Ivan & Alyosha formed in 2007, when Tim Wilson met Ryan Carbary. Both had been in various Seattle-area combos, but the songs that Wilson was writing at the time seemed to call out for a new musical approach. The pair spent nearly a year writing material for their debut EP, The Verse, The Chorus. Released in March 2009, the EP generated an unexpected level of national exposure, with the charming tune “Easy to Love” (reprised on All the Times We Had) receiving considerable airplay. The debut EP won the band an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered and coverage in NPR’s All Songs Considered SXSW 2010 preview. A subsequent appearance at the SXSW festival generated considerable music-industry word-of-mouth.

By the time Ivan & Alyosha recorded its second EP, Fathers Be Kind, in February 2011, the group had expanded to include Tim Wilson’s bass-playing brother Pete, whose songwriting abilities contributed considerably to the band’s creative arsenal, and Tim’s high school friend Tim Kim, whose distinctive guitar work added a new dimension to their sound. Fathers Be Kind’s majestically jangly title track became a favorite of fans, critics and DJs, and reappears in a newly recorded version on All the Times We Had.

“When we recorded The Verse, the Chorus, we’d never really played live as a band,” Tim Wilson notes. “By the time we did the Fathers Be Kind EP, my brother Pete and Tim Kim had come on board, and we had done a west coast tour or two, and some dates on the east coast, but we were still figuring out how to play together. After Fathers Be Kind came out, we went out and spent year and a half touring, and became a real band. I think that’s reflected on the new album.”

Indeed, All the Times We Had demonstrates the positive effects of the band’s extensive roadwork, underlining just how far Ivan & Alyosha has progressed since its humble origins.

“I think that we all feel pretty strongly that this is what we’re supposed to be doing, playing music, trying to write good, timeless songs, and trying to connect with people,” Wilson states. “I think that we have a pretty deep sense of purpose, that this is not just some accident. I guess that the essence of faith is having felt or experienced something that maybe you can’t hold in your hand, and I think that’s how I’d describe my attitude towards music. And it’s OK if it’s hard, because anything in life that’s worth doing is hard.

“I’m guilty as guilty as anyone, of wanting certain things or wanting to be in a certain place right now,” he concludes. “But we’re building something, and building something takes time. I’m learning to enjoy the journey, and I think we all are.”

The Tenors

Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters, and Remigio Pereira, who together make The Tenors, were recently referred to as The Buckingham Palace House Band, having been invited back a number of times to perform at private events attended by members of the royal family. With the release of Lead With Your Heart it will soon become clear why.

A vocal group without equal, The Tenors have played over 500 shows on five continents and made over 150 TV appearances around the world. Already hugely popular in the States, they have performed on The Emmy Awards and Oprah (where fellow Canadian superstar Celine Dion joined them for a duet), found fans in President Obama and the G20 world leaders, as well as world-class musicians such as Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sting, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli (with whom they have shared the stage). They have also sung with Canadian musicians Justin Beiber, Sarah McLachlan, Paul Anka and David Foster, and performed for British Prime Ministers, Blair and Cameron.

Lead With Your Heart, which showcases their mesmerising, world-class vocals, has already won a JUNO Award and shot to No.1 in both the US Classical and Crossover Charts. The unusual combination of pop and operatic voices, which complement each other perfectly, is irresistibly romantic. The album includes original material, co-written by The Tenors themselves, such as the opening track, You and I (Vinceremo) which is based on the recognisable Bach Cello Suite theme – as well as World Stand Still, Journees d’innocence and Lullaby (The Smile Upon Your Face), which features the Grammy-winning American trumpeter Chris Botti. There are also new interpretations of classic songs such as Bob Dylan’s hit track, Forever Young, and Me He Enamorado De Ti (Woman in Love) by Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees. Also included are timeless favourites such as Amazing Grace, here arranged by The Tenors, and an impressive Nessun Dorma which pays tribute to the world’s greatest tenor, also signed to Decca, the late Luciano Pavarotti. Not only do they sing (and speak) in five different languages, the four singers also play their own instruments, making The Tenors completely unique.


Phildel is an artist whose deep appreciation for sound stems from an understanding of silence. During a childhood in which music was forbidden by her religious stepfather, she came to know silence well. Despite her furious love for music, for ten years she was left to imagine the sounds she would fill the silence with if she could.

Following her departure from the household, her creativity erupted into an all-encompassing force. Composing day and night, Phildel created the epic, haunting and innovative music she had dreamt of.

Her music is a journey into the landscape of her imagination, at times beautifully enchanting, at others, raw and horrific. Complimented on her ‘sonic soundscapes’ by Trevor Horn, she has won supporters around the world, her music being used by fashions designers, film directors, theatre producers and media campaigns. Her debut album “The Disappearance of the Girl” is set for UK release in January 2013.

Richard Clayderman

Richard Clayderman has done what virtually no other French act has ever done….. established a truly international career as a best selling recording artist and concert performer.


Born Philippe Pagès on December 28th, 1953, he encountered the piano early in his life. His father, a piano teacher, laid the foundation for his son’s later success and began teaching him how to play at a very young age. It is said that, at the age of six, Richard Clayderman could read music more adeptly than his native French.


When he was twelve years old he was accepted at the Conservatoire of Music where, at sixteen, he won first prize. He was predicted a promising career as a classical pianist. However, shortly after this, and much to everyone’s surprise, he cast aside his classical training and turned to contemporary music.


“I wanted to do something different”, Clayderman says, “So, with some friends, I created a rock group ; it was a tough time….. a hard tine….. and the little money we could make was devoted to buying equipment. In fact, I used to feed myself so badly – mainly on sandwiches – that I had to have an operation for an ulcer when I was only seventeen”.


At that time his father was becoming seriously ill and was unable to support his son financially. So, in order to earn a living, Clayderman found work as an accompanist and session musician.


“I enjoyed it”, he says, “and it paid well at the same time. That is how I drew away from classical music, although it gave me a strong basis for what I do now”.


His talent did not go unnoticed and he soon became much in demand as an accompanist to such major French stars as Michel Sardou, Thierry LeLuron and Johnny Halliday. But, when asked about his ambitions at that time, he says, “! really did not want to be a star, I was happy to be an accompanist and to play in groups”.


Nevertheless, his life changed dramatically in 1976 when he received a telephone call from Olivier Toussaint, a well-known French record producer, who, with his partner, Paul de Senneville, was looking for a pianist to record a gentle piano ballad. Paul had composed this ballad as a tribute to his new born daughter “Adeline”. The 23 year old Philippe Pagès was auditioned along with 20 other hopefuls and, to his amazement, he got the job.


“We liked him immediately”, says Paul de Senneville, “His very special and soft touch on the keyboards combined with his reserved personality and good looks very much impressed Olivier Toussaint and I. We made our decision very quickly”.


Philippe Pagès’ name was changed to Richard Clayderman (he adopted his great-grandmother’s last name to avoid mispronunciation of his real name outside France), and the single took off, selling an astonishing 22 million copies in 38 countries. It was called “Ballade pour Adeline”.


“When I signed him”, says Olivier Toussaint, “I told him that if we sell 10,000 singles it will be marvellous, because it was disco at that time and we could not bet on such a ballad being a winner….. We could not imagine that it would be so big”.


It was the start of what has become an outstanding success story, and since that time, Richard Clayderman’s distinctive piano style has earned him superstar status all over the world. Today he has recorded over 1000 melodies and, in the words of a German journalist, “he has arguably done more to popularise the piano around the world than anyone since Beethoven”. Richard Clayderman has created a “New Romantic” style through a repertoire which combines his ‘trademark’ originals with classics and pop standards. He has clocked up massive worldwide record sales in excess of 80 million, at the last count, and an incredible 267 Gold and 70 Platinum discs to his credit.


However, “The Prince of Romance” (as he was dubbed by Nancy Reagan) is not simply a recording artist. In fact, despite his natural shyness and reserve, he is completely in his element on stage ; a Richard Clayderman concert is a real ‘Spectacular’.


“I love performing live on stage”, he says, “because I have direct contact with my audience. In concert, with my 10 musicians or a symphony orchestra, I like to mix different tempos, rhythms and styles to evoke all kinds of emotion”.


Clayderman’s international success has resulted in a punishing itinerary which, in the past, has seen him play as many as 200 concerts in just 250 days spent outside France. In spite of this, he remains very much a family man.


“My family is extremely important to me”, he often says, “my mother, my wife Christine, my daughter, Maud, and my son, Peter….they are what keep me going – my reason for living, apart from my music, of course”.


The biggest price Richard Clayderman feels he has to pay for his international stardom is the time he spends away from his family – a sacrifice he acknowledges they all suffer but accept as part of his duty to his millions of fans.


Kimberley Walsh

Kimberley Walsh will release her debut solo album ‘Centre Stage’ on Decca Records. The Girls Aloud member, currently wowing millions on Strictly Come Dancing, will be releasing ‘Centre Stage’ on February 4 2013.

Kimberley knew the direction her debut album was going to take as soon as legendary label Decca – home to Andrea Bocelli, Alfie Boe and Imelda May – approached her to make the album.

“I’ve always loved musical theatre and doing Shrek! The Musical definitely re-ignited the passion in me,” says Kimberley. “I really wanted to share the love I have for musical theatre by taking some classic songs and completely reinventing them. The melodies in so many musical songs are so brilliant I knew we could create something special by experimenting with the production and I really feel like we’ve come up with some interesting takes on classic songs.”

Kimberley started recording the album this summer in Stockholm. Working with pop producers Per and David (Britney, Westlife, Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo, Will Young). One Day I’ll Fly Away from Moulin Rouge was the first song recorded:

“I was in my absolute element recording it and really felt like I was discovering new tones to my voice and really pushing myself vocally. I loved every minute of recording this album I really felt like I was going back to my roots.”

Currently celebrating ten years of Girls Aloud with the release of a greatest hits album and a forthcoming arena tour, she is also training hard for Strictly Come Dancing where she is one of the show’s most popular contestants and a favourite to go all the way.

“There’s a lot going on right now but I am loving every minute and can’t wait for people to hear these songs I’ve recorded.”


Annunzio Paolo Mantovani was born in 1905 in Venice, the city in Italy that would delight and fascinate him all his adult life. In 1909 the family moved to London where Mantovani studied piano, harmony and counterpoint with his father to begin with, and then with professors Chiti and Pecskai. Finally, at the age of fourteen, he started the violin, and so began this unique relationship between an artist and the sound of strings.

Mantovani applied himself to the study of the violin with total concentration and thoroughness, qualities that would serve well the demands of the disciplined artistic life he would be leading later as a successful maestro. Of these early teenage years, he recalled, “I had friends, of course, but my involvement in their interests was only casual. As they talked about soccer and cricket, I kept wondering how I was going to solve the fingering problem of a particular violin exercise I was having problem with”.

This desire to pursue ever-higher standards of performance was, no doubt, two-fold: there was the basic artistic drive to master his instrument, and, also, the level of achievement required to produce in him the professional musician. At seventeen he ventured forth and began earning a living as a player, pleased to be contributing to the family’s income, and satisfied at having avoided courses of study in draftsmanship!

He joined an orchestra and played all over England in major hotel restaurants which, in those days, was where music could be enjoyed casually and less formally than in the concert halls. He was soon featured as a soloist and there was no mistaking his talent. Two authorities of the day, Thibaud and Ysaye, who heard Mantovani play at the Metropole Hotel in London, encouraged him to pursue a concert career. Thibaud, having commented on the youngster’s “splendid tone and technical facility”, was specially supportive.

The quiet and gentle young man with the will of steel began a rigorous course of study and, for several years, worked assiduously, developing his technique and his repertoire. In 1930 he gave a recital at Aeolian Hall, and approximately one year following this appearance, he performed the demanding Saint-Saëns “Violin Concerto in B Minor” in a memorable performance at the Hotel Metropole to a cheering audience and, the following day, to glowing press notices. Sir Thomas Beecham, who was in the audience, sent back a note which read, “Bravo! Well played.

Times were hard as these were years of great depression and Mantovani had to plan his future. He took a painful but irreversible decision not to pursue a concert career ‘‘the most difficult thing I ever had to decide’’ he later reflected. He formed instead, the Tipica Orchestra which began to draw attention almost immediately to the London circuit, first at the grand Metropole Hotel and later in cabaret, at the elite Monseigneur’s. Soon the Tipica Orchestra was the one for fashionable Londoners to hear and Mantovani began making a name for himself. He led the Orchestra in a Pathé film which was later used by the BBC in its great television documentary, “All Our Yesterdays”.

There followed, slightly later, the Mantovani Quintet, and, in its ranks, was a new fresh face that would one day also enhance the British musical scene, George Melachrino. During this time, Mantovani met and soon courted Miss Winifred Moss, the daughter of W.J.Moss, a company director in the City of London. She was a remarkably beautiful woman with delicate features, a warm and winning smile and a sparkling personality. She was as English as the proverbial Rose – adding to Mantovani’s shy Mediterranean personality. Years later, Mantovani would talk about the great debt he owed to Winifred, who instinctively seemed to understand what her husband required and needed as he continued to extend himself searching for a place in the world of music.

She gave him two children, a son, Kenneth, and a daughter, Paula, enriching the home life he also needed. She created a place for his family and their friends, giving Monty a broad and solid base of love and affection from which to assuage the inescapable uncertainties of an artist’s life. She accepted his decision to relinquish his concert career, encouraged him to make his way in the orchestral world, however late the hours and distant the journeys; and, finally, throughout the years, she strongly supported him in the pursuit of an ultimate wish, an insistent part of his boyhood dream: to conduct his own orchestra.

With the formation of his own large orchestra, Mantovani made peace with the Muse whose caprices he struggled with for over twenty years. He had played in touring orchestras, in promenade concerts; he had led hotel orchestras and dance bands; he had been heard in recital and had performed concertos on the stages of great halls. But an orchestra with twenty-eight strings as its centerpiece, this, more than any other career move he could have made, banked his fires: he could compose for such an ensemble, arrange and transcribe for it, and, most importantly, conduct it, molding the sounds he heard into interpretations of music he wanted to present to people.

This formula of expression produced the Mantovani stamp: a combination of musical taste and style, the indelible ink of which would be the so-called “cascading” sound. The “sound” is a story in itself, the most humorous chapter of which, years later, was written by an impresario in Denmark who was presenting the orchestra in concert. A telegram was received which read, “Please don’t forget to bring your sound-effect machine. We will pay the freight charges”. Sound-effects, indeed! The “tumbling” effect is purely musical, and is achieved in the strings by delaying the resolution of notes in a chord. It was born as follows: having formed his orchestra, Mantovani was looking for an identifiable sound he could use as a signature for his new orchestra.

He turned to the accordionist of his old Tipica Orchestra, Ronald Binge, who had become a creative arranger over the years. Mantovani decided to commission from and develop with him a suitable style of sound. It was a terrible gamble, to be sure, which, if imperfectly handled, could have hurt the orchestra’s chances at the outset; but Mantovani took the risk, confident that he would know instantly when played, whether the experiment had any merit.

The result was “Charmaine”. Mantovani immediately made it his signature melody and, later, when he recorded it, the disc sold over one million copies…in days when such a figure was unheard of. He had given his recording company, Decca/London, the handle required to address the vast listening public Mantovani hoped was there for his music. Mantovani became an international star.

Military Wives

The Military Wives Choirs Foundation is a network of choirs that reaches across the whole military community. It has been established to provide support, guidance and funding for individual choirs, but first and foremost to bring women closer together through singing.

Following the phenomenal success of ‘Wherever You Are’, which raised more than half a million pounds for military charities, those involved set out to create a wider network that could support wives, partners and women serving in the forces, and would leave a lasting legacy. In particular, the women from the first choirs wanted to share the enjoyement and pride that they had already experienced through their own choirs. The Military Wives Choirs Foundation has enabled them to do just this.

Through its growing network, the Foundation is building something that brightens lives, strengthens military communities and enables hundreds of women to experience the enjoyement and friendship that comes from being part of a Military Wives Choir. The Foundation is now a registered subsidiary of SSAFA Forces Help.

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis stands in a league all his own. He has been described as a creative genius, compassionate humanitarian, legendary trumpeter, masterful composer, arts advocate, tireless educator and cultural leader.

However, it is Wynton’s lifetime commitment to inspiring and uplifting people though artistic excellence in jazz that has made an unparalleled impact on domestic and international culture.

Wynton Learson Marsalis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 18, 1961 – the second of six sons to Ellis and Dolores Marsalis. Wynton was immersed in the tradition of his hometown since birth.

However, when he received his first trumpet from Al Hirt at age six, he wasn’t initially serious about the instrument – that is, until age 12. Within the next two years, he flourished and won a competition playing Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in Eb major with the New Orleans Philharmonic. Wynton continued playing throughout the Crescent City in concert, marching and jazz brass bands, gospel churches, symphonic orchestras and various funk bands and modern jazz ensembles.

At age 17, he became the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center.

Despite his youth, he was awarded the school’s prestigious Harvey Shapiro Award for outstanding brass student. Wynton moved to New York in 1979 to study at the Juilliard School. He left school in 1981 to join the finest finishing school in jazz, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Wynton has received a comprehensive education in jazz and the arts from a group of legendary mentors. In New Orleans, his father Ellis, a dedicated jazz pianist and educator, taught him modern jazz; and Dr. Bert Braud taught him classical theory at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. Renowned banjoist Danny Barker trained him in the rudiments of New Orleans Jazz as he led the legendary Fairview Baptist Church band, which Wynton joined at the age of 8.

In the years to follow, Wynton was educated by blues trumpet master ‘Sweets’ Edison, a celebrated member of Count Basie’s epochal 1930s band, and Clark Terry, a most treasured member of Ellington’s 1950s Orchestra. Wynton also toured with Miles Davis’s second great rhythm section – Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter – and toured with and was mentored by drummer Elvin Jones, the engine of Coltrane’s Classic Quartet, and John Lewis, the artistic director of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

At 19, he recorded his first jazz album as a leader, and at the age of 20, he assembled his own band and hit the road – performing more than 120 concerts a year around the world for 20 consecutive years. To date, he has produced more than 60 records, selling more than 7 million records worldwide including 3 Gold Records. Wynton holds the distinction of being the only artist to ever win GRAMMY® Awards for both jazz and classical records and the only artist to win GRAMMY® Awards in five consecutive years.

Wynton also has a lifelong appreciation and involvement with classical music. Wynton recorded the Haydn, Hummel and Leopold Mozart trumpet concertos at the age of 21 and went on to record 10 additional classical records, all to critical acclaim. He has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Czech National Orchestra.

Composing is a constant for Wynton. His inventiveness has been widely embraced, having received numerous commissions to create major compositions. Garth Fagan Dance, The New York City Ballet, Twyla Tharp with the American Ballet Theatre, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Savion Glover have all danced to Wynton’s compositions. He collaborated with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society in 1995 to compose the string quartet, At the Octoroon Balls, and again in 1998 to create a response to Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale with his composition, A Fiddler’s Tale.

At the dawn of the new millennium (1999), Wynton presented his first symphony, All Rise.

This epic composition for big band, gospel choir and symphony orchestra was performed by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Kurt Masur along with the Morgan State University Choir, under the direction of Dr. Nathan Carter, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Wynton’s long relationship with Ghanaian master drummer Yacub Addy led to the composition and premiere of Congo Square in 2006. This piece redefines the intersection of African music and American jazz. Abyssinian 200: A Celebration was commissioned by the Abyssinian Baptist Church to commemorate their 200th anniversary.

This Mass composed by Wynton was performed in 2008 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir and Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III. It developed ideas originally presented in Wynton’s 1992 landmark, In This House on This Morning, a piece that was heard nationwide during an unprecedented tour of African-American churches.

Wynton’s second symphony, Blues Symphony, is his latest composition.

It celebrates the blues through the prism of different periods in American history. Comprising seven movements, each with a distinct sound and historic reference point, Blues Symphony is written in the tradition of Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson and Jelly Roll Morton and finds its foundation in American root music.

Based on the groundwork established by his mentors’ teachings and his first-hand experiences interacting with people of all ages and cultures, Wynton co-founded Jazz at Lincoln Center – the world’s first and foremost institution dedicated to jazz education and performance.

At 48 years old, his achievements are unrivaled – from receiving, among many others, the prestigious Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts and history-making GRAMMY®, Pulitzer, and Peabody awards to being recognized as one of America’s 25 most influential people, appointed as a UN Messenger of Peace, honored with the National Medal of Arts and, most recently, awarded the French Legion of Honor.

The most extraordinary dimension of Wynton is not his accomplishments, but his character. Whether waiting in a empty parking lot for an hour after a concert to give an aspiring musician advice, or for a single student to return from home with his horn for a trumpet lesson, or personally funding scholarships for students, Wynton donates his time and talent to make a difference in the lives of individuals and to help raise money for charitable organizations. Wynton has been a tireless advocate for marshalling the will and resources necessary to rebuild New Orleans culturally, socially and economically. Wynton’s commitment to the improvement of life for all people embodies the best of his character and humanity and drives him to continually strive to do more.

Wayne Shorter

More than half a century after embarking on his lifelong musical adventure, Shorter is universally regarded as a living legend in jazz. His great body of work as a composer for such illustrious groups as Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis’ famous mid ‘60s quintet and fusion supergroup Weather Report is enough to ensure him a spot in the Jazz Hall of Fame. But if the prolific composer had never written a single tune, his signature sound and choice of notes, sense of economy and unparalleled expression on both tenor and soprano saxes would have earmarked him for greatness. Combine the writing prowess with the fragmented, probing solos and the enigmatic Buddhist philosopher presence and you have the makings of a jazz immortal. “Life is so mysterious, to me,” says Shorter. “I can’t stop at any one thing to say, ‘Oh, this is what it is.’ And I think it’s always becoming, always becoming. That’s the adventure. And imagination is part of that adventure.”

Born in Newark, New Jersey on August 25, 1933, had his first great jazz epiphany as a teenager: “I remember seeing Lester Young when I was 15 years old. It was a Norman Granz Jazz at the

Philharmonic show in Newark and he was late coming to the theater. Me and a couple of other guys were waiting out front of the Adams Theater and when he finally did show up, he had the pork pie hat and everything. So then we were trying to figure out how to get into the theater from the fire escape around the back. We eventually got into the mezzanine and saw that whole show — Stan Kenton and Dizzy Gillespie bands together on stage doing ‘Peanut Vendor,’ Charlie Parker with strings doing ‘Laura’ and stuff like that. And Russell Jacquet…Ilinois Jacquet. He was there doing his thing. That whole scene impressed me so much that I just decided, ‘Hey, man, let me get a clarinet.’ So I got one when I was 16, and that’s when I started music.”

Switching to tenor saxophone, shorter formed a teenage band in Newark called The Jazz Informers and later got some invaluable bandstand experience with the Jackie Bland Band, a progressive Newark orchestra that specialized in bebop. While still in high school, Shorter participated in several cutting contests on Newark’s jazz scene, including one memorable encounter with sax great Sonny Stitt. He attended college at New York University while also soaking up the Manhattan jazz scene by frequenting popular nightspots like Birdland and Cafe Bohemia. Wayne worked his way through college by playing with the Nat Phipps orchestra. Upon graduating in 1956, he worked briefly with Johnny Eaton and his Princetonians, earning the nickname “The Newark Flash” for his speed and facility on the tenor saxophone. But just as he was beginning making his mark, Shorter was drafted into the Army. He recalls a memorable jam session at the Cafe Bohemia just days before he was shipped off to Fort Dix, New Jersey. “A week before I went into the Army I went to the Cafe Bohemia to hear music, I said, for the last time in my life. I was standing at the bar having a cognac and I had my draft notice in my back pocket. That’s when I met Max Roach. He said, ‘You’re the kid from Newark, huh? You’re The Flash.’ And he asked me to sit in. They were changing drummers throughout the night, so Max played drums, then Art Taylor, then Art Blakey. Oscar Pettiford was on cello. Jimmy Smith came in the door with his organ. He drove to the club with his organ in a hearse. And outside we heard that Miles was looking for somebody named Cannonball. And I’m saying to myself, ‘All this stuff is going on and I gotta go to the Army in about five days!’”

Following his time in the service, Shorter had a brief stint in 1958 with Horace Silver and later played in the house band at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem. It was around this time that Shorter began jamming with fellow tenor saxophonists John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. In 1959, Shorter had a brief stint with the Maynard Ferguson big band before joining Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in August of that year. He remained with the Jazz Messengers through 1963, becoming Blakey’s musical director and contributing several key compositions to the band’s book during those years. Shorter made his recording debut as a leader in 1959 for the Vee Jay label and in 1964 cut the first of a string of important recordings for the Blue Note label. He joined the Miles Davis band in 1964 and remained with the group through 1970, contributing such landmark compositions as “Nefertiti,” “E.S.P.,” “Pinocchio,” “Sanctuary,” “Fall” and “Footprints.”

In 1970, Shorter co-founded the group Weather Report with keyboardist and Miles Davis alum, Joe Zawinul. It remained the premier fusion group through the ’70s and into the early ’80s before disbanding in 1985 after 16 acclaimed recordings, including 1980′s Grammy Award-winning double-live LP set, 8:30. Shorter formed his own group in 1986 and produced a succession of electric jazz albums for the Columbia label — 1986′s Atlantis, 1987′s Phantom Navigator, 1988′s Joy Ryder. He re-emerged on the Verve label with 1995′s High Life. After the tragic loss of his wife in 1996 (she was aboard the ill-fated Paris-bound flight TWA 800), Shorter returned to the scene with 1997′s 1+1, an intimate duet recording with pianist and former Miles Davis quintet bandmate Herbie Hancock. The two spent 1998 touring as a duet and by the summer of 2001 Wayne began touring as the leader of a talented young lineup featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John

Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, each a celebrated recording artist and bandleader in his own right. The group’s uncanny chemistry was well documented on 2002′s acclaimed Footprints Live! Shorter followed in 2003 with the ambitious Alegria, an expanded vision for large ensemble which earned him a Grammy Award.

Shorter sees his current recording, the live Beyond the Sound Barrier , as part of a creative continuum. “It’s the same mission…fighting the good fight,” he says. “It’s making a statement about what life is, really. And I’m going to end the line with it.: He adds, “A lot of musicians worry about protecting what I call their musical foundation. They want to be on their Ps and Qs on stage, put their best foot forward, play their best runs, their best and try to impress people. But I’m at a point where I’m just going say, ‘To hell with the rules.’ That’s all I’m doing with the music now. I’m 71, I’ve got nothing to lose now. I’m going for the unknown.”