LA Jazz Society honors saxophone great Wayne Shorter (photos)

US musician Wayne Shorter performs on th

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Wayne Shorter performs on the stage of the 51st edition of "Jazz a Juan" a Jazz music festival on July 15, 2011 in Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, southeastern France, in homage to famous Jazz musician Miles Davis.

Musician Wayne Shorter gives the thumbs up as he h

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Wayne Shorter gives the thumbs up as he holds his Grammy award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for "In Walked Wayne" at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 2000.

US jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (L) and s

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Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (L) and saxophonist Wayne Shorter perform during the Paris' "Jazz à la Villette" music festival, Sept. 4, 2007.

Saxophonist Wayne Shorter performs with

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Saxophonist Wayne Shorter performs with the Wayne Shorter Quartet during the 32nd Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival, on July 15, 2008, in the northern Spanish Basque city of Vitoria.

US saxophonist and jazz composer Wayne S

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US saxophonist and jazz composer Wayne Shorter performs during the "Tribute to Miles" night at the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival on July 13, 2011 in Montreux.

US saxophonist Wayne Shorter (L) and US

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Saxophonist Wayne Shorter (L) and bassist John Patitucci perform during the Marciac Jazz festival, Aug. 13, 2005 in Marciac, southern France.


The L.A. Jazz Society has chosen composer and saxophone great Wayne Shorter as its Tribute Honoree this year.

The New Jersey-both musician began his jazz career in the late 1950's playing with bandleader Horace Silver, and later joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the Miles Davis quintet. Shorter, 79, went on to record his own highly acclaimed albums, including "Speak No Evil" and "Juju."

Shorter told KPCC that he was originally an art major and it was a twist of fate that he ended up in a music class.

"They put me in a music class for disciplinary reasons because I played hookey," said Shorter. "My music teacher was a disciplinarian and he played the Mozart G minor 40. That’s like a jazz cymbal beat. I discovered that when I was in my junior year in high school."

Shorter said he looked at jazz stars like Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk like they were superheroes.

"And then hearing them, I wanted to get in there with them," said Shorter.

Shorter has experimented with a variety of genres in more than 50 years as a jazz artist. He was with Davis when the innovative trumpeter began moving into jazz fusion in the mid 1960s.

Shorter, who's known as much for his composing as his playing, co-wrote "Sanctuary" on the groundbreaking 1969 Miles Davis fusion album "Bitches' Brew." A year earlier, Shorter composed most of the music on Davis' last acoustic album "Nefertiti."

Shorter also co-founded the acclaimed fusion group Weather Report in the 1970s.

Shorter will be honored at the LA Jazz Society's awards dinner at the Universal Hilton on Sunday and will perform in a concert that evening.

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