The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of SPEAK NO EVIL includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal.
Personnel: Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone); Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Herbie Hancock (piano); Ron Carter (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on December 24, 1964. Originally released on Blue Note (BLP 4194). Includes liner notes by Don Heckman.
Digitally remastered by Rudy Van Gelder.
This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series.
SPEAK NO EVIL is a significant recording for two main reasons. Firstly, it is one of the first in a long string of stunning solo sessions by Shorter that showcase both his masterful saxophone abilities and his eclectic compositional style away from the leadership of Art Blakey and Miles Davis. Secondly, it combines members of the three mightiest ensembles of the period; Freddie Hubbard and Shorter worked together in Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter formed three fifths of Miles Davis' legendary quintet and Elvin Jones was the drumming powerhouse behind John Coltrane's famous group.
Shorter introduces the session with the swinging "Witch Hunt," a dynamic piece with many unexpected twists and turns. Later, the mysterious "Dance Cadaverous" is a peaceful waltz that slowly unfolds its meandering melody over Jones' gentle prodding. The classic title track is, of course, the disc's highlight; a bluesy swinger in the style of Shorter's stint with Blakey. The delicate ballad "Infant Eyes" is one of the saxophonist's most touching compositions, and worthy of special attention. Finally, the lilting "Wild Flower" closes the door on a most momentous session.