Song of the Day: Wayne Shorter, “Black Nile”

“Black Nile” is one of the standout tracks from Wayne Shorter’s 1964 Blue Note debut album, Night Dreamer. The record came shortly after he had left The Jazz Messengers and was recorded in one session with an all-star quintet featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Elvin Jones. Night Dreamer was also a fine showcase of the saxophonist’s compositional prowess. In fact, it was the first of his full-lengths to be made up entirely of his own original compositions.

“Black Nile” opens the record’s flipside. Conceptually, it is a celebration of the black civilization of Egypt and musically, it reflects the flowing of the title river. Aside from its refined aesthetics, the track is celebrated for Shorter’s remarkable (and occasionally Coltrane-esque) saxophone runs, matched by Morgan’s trumpet. All the while, Jones on drums effortlessly enriches its atmospheric depth with plenty of swing and splashes.

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