Wayne Shorter Talks Art Blakey


Wayne Shorter and Don Was discuss uncovered Art Blakey music on First Flight To Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings.

(Photo: Blue Note)

In a surprise interview, composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter sat down with Don Was, president of Blue Note Records, for a conversation about the new release First Flight To Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers.

Shorter was a core member of that band, and as one of the first American acts to go to Japan, Was said the tour experience “was something akin to Beatlemania,” taking on a “mythical quality.”

“It was almost overwhelming,” Shorter said of the tour. “We thought we were cool anyway, and getting off the plane and in the airport, all of a sudden, [there were] all of these lights and photographers and people and presents.”

Shorter said that during interviews with the Japanese press, band members were frequently asked questions like, “What is originality?” and “Why are you here?” He noted that Japan audiences wanted to witness something that was authentic.

The interview with Shorter and Was appears on the latest episode of Blue Note’s First Look video blog and can be viewed HERE.

First Flight To Tokyo was co-produced by Zev Feldman and David Weiss for Blue Note. It’s a two-LP or two-CD set complete with booklets of rare photography, essays and interviews. Catch the story behind the album HERE. DB