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Meeting Big Names - Wayne Shorter And His Quartet At The Malta Jazz Festival 7/6/2003

The grand master of tenor saxophonists Wayne Shorter will be performing at the Malta Jazz Festival, on Saturday, July 19, with his fabulous quartet comprising pianist Danilo Pérez, drummer Brian Blade and the bassist John Patitucci. Shorter is renowned for founding Weather Report, the group that popularised fusion in the 70's and 80's, along with keyboardist Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous.

The Malta Jazz Festival, which runs over the weekend between 18 and 20 July, at the Grand Harbour, Valletta, is organised by The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. The festival is sponsored by Cisk Export Premium Lager and Vodafone Malta Limited. Other supporters include Le Meridien Phoenicia and the American Center. The festival nights start at 8.00pm.

"This is a must see concert by the current hot quartet," said Charles 'City' Gatt, Artistic Director of the Malta Jazz Festival. "Wayne Shorter is considered 'the idea man' behind Miles Davis's legendary 60's quintet. Shorter has continually proved that he is a top artiste in contemporary music."

Born in 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, Shorter began working with pianist Horace Silver and as his reputation in New York City grew, and he found himself performing with the Maynard Ferguson band. This lead to a stint with Art Blakey that lasted from 1959 to 1963, by which time the saxophonist was clearly established as a newcomer to watch.

Shorter first recorded as a leader on the Vee Jay label and from there he recorded a series of albums on Blue Note, all of them with top sidemen. During this period he joined Miles Davis in 1964, and along with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, created a sound with a bandleader that changed the face of the jazz during this tumultuous decade. The group stayed together until 1970, when Wayne Shorter formed Weather Report.

He continued to redefine the new hybrid of music that borrowed from a variety of forms, from jazz and rock to classical and electronic. He won the Downbeat poll on soprano nearly every year after 1969. For Wayne Shorter, at the age of 70, touring with his all-acoustic band is sheer excitement.

"Winner of three Grammy awards, and considered by many as one of the most brilliant tenor saxophonists to emerge on the scene since John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter will surely attract a vast audience on the second night of the Malta Jazz Festival," said, Farsons Marketing Manager, Pierre Stafrace.

"Vodafone is pleased to be associated with The Malta Jazz Festival and its host of highly acclaimed artistes, such as Shorter, Pérez, Blade and Patitucci," said Daphne Testa, Vodafone Marketing Communications Executive. "These three evenings promise to be memorable events for jazz lovers."

Shorter's all-star group, John Patitucci, Danilo Pérez, and Brian Blade (with the exception of Danilo Pérez) are no new comers to the Malta Jazz Festival. Drummer Brian Blade, before he turned 30, he was already a seasoned veteran of many prestigious albums and tours. He worked with Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Seal, as well as jazz artistes such as Wayne Shorter, Bill Frisell and Joshua Redman. He developed the Brian Blade Fellowship Project, a fascinating mixture of jazz, blues, folk and country that released "Perpetual" one of his most impressive albums of recent years.

Since attracting worldwide acclaim as a member of Chick Corea's Elektric Band and Akoustic Band - a creative association that has now spanned 18 years, Grammy winning Patitucci has become one of today's most influential musicians and composers. He has released several remarkable albums as leader of his own groups and made notable contributions to renowned ensembles led by Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard and Danilo Pérez, to name only a few. Patitucci's sensitivity, inventiveness and tone have established him as one of the leading lights in contemporary and Brazilian jazz; few can emulate the scope of his impact on modern and traditional music.

A world class pianist and composer, Danilo Pérez is one of the leaders in the new generation of jazz musicians. He was prominently referred as a "stellar young player" in June 1995 New York Time Magazine. After graduating in Jazz composition from Berklee in Boston, he played for the brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi and assumed piano responsibilities for Paquito D'Rivera Havana. Pérez was honoured as the Most Outstanding Musicians by the Boston Jazz Society in 1989. His command of the eclectic, post-bop Latin style solidified during a four-year tenure (1989-1992) with Dizzy Gillespie. He toured worldwide with Freddie Hubbard, Red Rodney, Claudio Roditi, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Goerge Mraz and Louis Nash during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration Tribute to Gillespie. In 1995 Pérez was invited to perform with The Panamian Symphony Orchestra in Panama and Venezuela.

The second night of the Malta Jazz Festival opens with American Voices, featuring jazz singer Coco York accompanied by her pianist Mike del Ferro and followed by the Cuban group Septeto with percussionist Roberto Juan Rodriguez and David Krakauer on clarinet.

Other hot evenings during this festival will showcase local musical talent by Dominic Galea's Heritage followed by Dianne Reeves. The 15-piece Cubanismo will get the audiences swinging and dancing with their Latin sounds till the early hours on Friday night. Sandro Zerafa Quartet followed by the Brazilian guitarist Jorge Ben Jor and Tania Maria and Viva Brazil will be signing off the Malta Jazz Festival on Sunday night.

Tickets can be purchased from The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, tel 21 245 168, and Vodafone Retail Outlets as well as from Exotique Complex (Sliema), D'Amato (Sliema and Valletta), Knight Music (Hamrun), Ta' Geraldu Kiosk and t-Teatru Manoel (Valletta), and Memories (Bugibba).