Though few luminaries from jazz's golden era are still alive, and though performances from that small group become increasingly rare, the question remains: Why should you see one of them today? Well you could reason that you probably won't get another chance because they're getting old. But you have to approach these things with limited expectations.
Even in their prime, jazz greats were hit or miss because they were always trying new ideas. And as they age, they face a pretty tight Catch-22: either play along with the expectations of fans familiar with their classics, possibly appearing stagnant, or keep plowing through new terrain at the risk of alienating the audience. Much like the more heralded Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter never allowed himself to rest for long in any one particular creative area.
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Shorter comes to Miami with a truckload of history: Davis's classic quintet, Weather Report, and a brilliant run of required-listening solo albums. These days the saxophonist is liable to blow your mind via the level of abstraction he brings to the bandstand. But judge for yourself. For a good idea of what Shorter and longtime bandmates John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, and Brian Blade like to do, check out last year's live album, Beyond the Sound Barrier, on Verve.