Speak No Evil Wayne Shorter (Blue Note) Wayne Shorter reached larger audiences with Miles Davis and later Weather Report, but much of his most important work as a leader is to be found on the 11 albums he recorded for the Blue Note label between 1964 and 1970. Of these, the most satisfying is the third, Speak No Evil, which featured him with two of his colleagues from the Miles Davis Quintet of the period, bassist Ron Carter and pianist Herbie Hancock, Blue Note house trumpet star Freddie Hubbard and John Coltrane's drummer Elvin Jones. Shorter had already forged a formidable frontline partnership with Hubbard in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and the rapport between all members of the group remains astonishing to hear. Blue Note's policy of investing in extra rehearsal time for sessions paid off handsomely with this set. Shorter, still playing exclusively tenor sax at this point, emerges clearly as the most important voice on the instrument since Sonny Rollins and Coltrane, and also as an innovative and thoughtful composer with a style very much his own. He distinguishes himself here from Coltrane, whom he had been accused of copying, with his willingness to leave space in the music. During a period in which jazz had become increasingly frenetic, and solos seemingly all but divorced from compositions, he reasserted the importance of structure. While retaining Jones from the lineups that had recorded Night Dreamer and Juju, Shorter also put a greater distance between his music and Coltrane's by replacing Reggie Workman and McCoy Tyner from Coltrane's band with Hancock and Carter. Shorter took much of his inspiration for the album from fairy tales - hence Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum - and a dark Grimm Brothers-derived world of childhood fantasy, complete with burning witches. Witch Hunt gets the album off to a driving start. Every player shines on every track, except for Infant Eyes on which Hubbard does not appear. All are Shorter compositions, although the composer has acknowledged that Dance Cadaverous owes more than a little to Sibelius's Valse Triste, which he would later record. This is not Shorter's only landmark record as a leader of the period - Adam's Apple is another classic - but it's the most consistent and balanced taken as a whole. The excellent Rudy Van Gelder remastered edition from 1999 adds an alternate take of Dance Cadaverous.