In Memoriam: Wayne Shorter, 1933-2023

Wayne Shorter, a pioneering jazz musician, composer, and a member of the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles for a decade, died on March 2. He was 89 years old.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, Shrtero was the in-house composer for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers until 1964 when he joined the Miles Davis Quintet. It was there that he connected with pianist Herbie Hancock, who he collaborated with on many projects.

Shorter began teaching at UCLA, the same year Herbie Hancock joined the faculty there. “Wayne taught every class that has come through the Herbie Hancock Institute — since before the partnership with UCLA,” said Daniel Seeff, the institute’s West Coast director. “For the students, spending time with him was beyond a dream come true. He was a hero to them musically and personally.”

Shorter won 12 Grammy Awards (the last one in 2022), the 2017 Polar Music Prize, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2018.

“We mourn the passing of a great musician and composer,” said Eileen Strempel, dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. “As a community, we feel the loss of an irreplaceable colleague, a musical visionary and devoted teacher.”


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