by Kelly Sill
In this month’s “Zwee Dot” Kelly Sill shares his listening notes to Wayne Shorter’s “Prince of Darkness” from the 1967 Columbia release, Sorcerer.
“Prince of Darkness”
From the Miles Davis recording
Sorcerer – Columbia Records
Recorded May 16–24, 1967
Miles Davis – Trumpet
Wayne Shorter – Tenor saxophone
Herbie Hancock – Piano
Ron Carter – Bass
Tony Williams – Drums
00:01 And it starts
00:03 With a pickup no less
00:09 Very simple melody
00:20 Same thing
00:23 Miles is messing with the melody
00:30 Very loose melody
00:37 Miles starting right in; Ron doing a hemiola almost immediately
00:44 It’s a three hemiola
01:03 Miles’s melodic approach is really beautiful
01:10 Wow, Ron kept that going on for a long time
01:14 Miles keeps going back to the melody
01:20 Yeah Ron—that eighth note thing is really cool!
01:30 That’s really incredible; Ron Carter is absolutely taking control of that cut
01:37 Back to the melody
01:41 Miles sounds really comfortable with Ron doing all that stuff
01:47 More melody
01:56 Miles really putting himself forward, and Ron back to the hemiola
02:16 Nice messing with the melody
02:22 Miles ends quoting the melody
02:27 Wayne starts with the shape of the melody
02:39 Flurries, with little pieces of the melody stuck in
02:49 Same thing, with Ron playing very abstractly again
02:59 Wayne paraphrasing the melody, and Ron getting out of the key for a second
03:07 Herbie has not played a single note for over two minutes
03:19 Wow—this is really broken up!
03:30 Wayne developing the melody, and Ron playing really across the grain
03:48 Classic Wayne
03:52 Back in with the melody, even with Herbie
04:04 The whole head
04:11 Herbie starts very slowly
04:17 Tony and Ron react by going into a halftime, open feel
04:26 And now it begins to move again
04:35 Great interaction
04:42 Back to a beat, with Ron on a hemola again
04:55 Two distinct rhythms simultaneously
05:02 My god, Herbie is now playing double time and Ron is all over the place
05:08 Tony playing a ton of stuff, and totally out of the way
05:17 Man, there sure is a lot going on right here
05:24 They’re starting to come down here
05:38 Miles in with the head, and Wayne just behind him
05:45 Everyone is in, and they’re playing the head straight
05:57 What a beautiful head
06:04 And the last phrase; and the last phrase again; and the last phrase again; and the last phrase again; and the last phrase again; and the last phrase again; I’ve never heard them do anything like that before
06:24 Another beautiful cut!
Kelly Sill has been a mainstay of the Chicago jazz scene for more than 45 years. After receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he moved to Chicago.
He has since performed and recorded with a vast array of jazz artists, including Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Eddie Jefferson, Clark Terry, Cedar Walton, Herb Ellis, Woody Shaw, Hank Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel, Chris Potter, Ernie Watts, Bob Mintzer, Mel Torme, Anita O'Day, Janice Borla, Jack Mouse, Jackie McLean, Joey DeFrancesco, Donald Byrd, Bobby Watson, Eddie Harris, Scott Hamilton, Victor Lewis, Clifford Jordan, Bucky Pizzarelli, and many more.
He has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Ravinia Festival, the Elkhart Jazz Festival, the Red Sea Jazz Festival, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall in Greece, and Symphony Center (Orchestra Hall) in Chicago.
Kelly has served on the faculties of Northwestern University, Interlochen Arts Academy, Northeastern Illinois University, Lake Forest College, DePaul University, and Northern Illinois University. He currently teaches at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. For questions or comments please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at KellySill.com.