Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil

Who knew that while I was busy playing with Hot Wheels underneath the Christmas tree on my sixth birthday, that Rudy Van Gelder was busy making such a cool record a few thousand miles away?

Speak No Evil has Herbie Hancock on piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Ron Carter on Bass and Elvin Jones on drums backing Shorter up with a formidable quintet – enlisting Hancock and Carter from Miles Davis’ last lineup.  Having worked with Jones and Hubbard as well, the group gels instantly, as they blast off in a more modal direction than much of the hard bob that had characterized this era of the Blue Note sound.

The first track, “Witch Hunt,” still has a heavy dose of bop, with Shorter and Hubbard leaping out of the speakers, engulfing you in horns – it’s almost hallucinogenic. The vibe slows down considerably after that and the rest of the record takes a mellower tone, slow and sweet on “Infant Eyes.”  Hancock’s piano floats way in the back of the soundstage and Jones provides delicate brushwork that is exquisitely captured.

Though these records are filled with quiet passages, there is no surface noise – just the slightest bit of tape hiss creeps in on the quietest parts, but it’s never offensive. And the big dynamic swings get the adrenalin flowing. Once again, Music Matters sets the bar for vinyl perfection.  This is as close as it gets to having the master tape at your disposal.

Music Matters Jazz

2 – 45 r.p.m. LP’s

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