Those RC readers who have read Footprints, Michelle Mercer’s excellent biography of Wayne Shorter, will probably be aware that the New Jersey-born saxophonist has a playful, almost schoolboy-like, sense of humour. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the former Weather Report member agreed to conspire with Carlos Santana in 1986, raising a private chuckle by spreading the false rumour that the two would form a band together. But, a year later, that’s exactly what happened. After laughing off stories of an imminent get-together, Shorter and Santana became deadly serious about joining forces and elected to tour the globe in 1988. Their potent collaboration culminated with this stunning two-hour performance at the 32nd Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, which comes to DVD for the first time.
Tighter than a ligature, the dynamic duo’s band features keyboard sorceress Patrice Rushen, ex-Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson and drummer Ndugu Chancler. Santana and Shorter are in stupendous form, creating an absorbing musical dialogue over a mixture of fiery percussion-laden Latin grooves, bluesy workouts and spacey jazz soundscapes. The show’s high point is when Shorter lets his hair down on a combustible, funk-fuelled version of Sanctuary, which is almost unrecognizable when compared with Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew original.