On March 23, myself and two other Berklee students attended the Wayne Shorter Quartet concert at the Megaro Mousikis concert hall in Athens, Greece. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve been listening to Wayne Shorter for the last few years, so I am fairly familiar with his work. But after the lights dimmed and the musicians took the stage, I came to realize that maybe I didn’t know the music like I thought.
The music that evening could be described as “free-jazz” in every sense of the word. The music was free from the Real Book feel and the musicians were free to play what they really felt in the moment. The first composition lasted about forty minutes. By the end of the performance I was so overwhelmed by the sheer wall of creative energy and sound that I couldn’t form an articulate sentence for a few minutes afterwards. That night opened my eyes as to how jazz can be played and on many levels should be played.
After the concert I saw my friend and Berklee bassist Greg Feingold. After exchanging the word “wow” for several minutes, I asked him what he thought. “The Wayne Shorter concert was yet another creative milestone that has happened since I’ve been in Greece. The concert itself spawned new ideas that I will continue to work out for the rest of my life, which ties directly into the spirit of the semester in Athens. [It was] a once in a lifetime experience to add to the list since I’ve been here in Athens.”
Third semester guitarist Ryan Toll was sitting next to me during the performance. “It wasn’t what I was expecting, because the whole concert was set up freely. But it was really interesting watching all those master musicians work together on the stage as if they were practicing. Brian Blade is killer!!! I know that when I look back on this trip, one of the distinct memories will be this concert.” I agree one hundred percent. The Wayne Shorter concert, like our experience here in Greece, will be one that has everlasting impact on my life.