Alan Shorter / May 29, 1932 - 1987

Best known as the older brother of saxophonist Wayne, Alan Shorter was a fiercely unique free jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player in the '60s and early '70s. From Newark NJ, he was playing in a bebop group as a youngster with Wayne, Grachan Moncur III and Walter Davis Jr.

He spent some time in the Army and joined the fire music scene, cutting sessions with Archie Shepp, Alan Silva, Marion Brown, Francois Tusques, the Full Moon Ensemble and his brother's 1965 album The All-Seeing Eye. (In fact, he was composer of "Mephistopheles" on said album). He made two underground classics of his own: Orgasm for Verve (a label not really known for free jazz) in '68 and a session recorded for the French label America called Tes Asat (with Johnny Dyani) in '71.

He lived in Europe for many years before getting a gig teaching briefly at Bennington College. He passed in '87. He was always one of the most far-out artists of US jazz players. For whatever reason, he has been noted to have "limited technique" but I find his playing to sound original and his compositions are quite a blast. Here's to the underappreciated artists!

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