Marion’s Favorites: Zero Gravity (A Documentary About Wayne Shorter)

by | Sep 4, 2023 | Marion's Favorites, Movie Reviews, Nonfiction, Wayne Shorter | 0 comments

Wayne Shorter is my favorite musician.

I have chronicled my admiration for musicians like Incognito, Pat Metheny Group, Sting, Bill Withers, and Michael Franks online over the years. Those are my favorites.  But, Wayne Shorter has moved past them all.

I spent my birthday weekend watching Zero Gravity, a three-part documentary that explores Wayne Shorter’s life and career as a renowned saxophonist. Also, he is one of the greatest composers in American music.

The documentary explores his path from a precocious, unconventional child who had a fascination with comic books, science fiction, and art in Newark, New Jersey, to his early years as a jazz musician with Art Blakely’s band, The Jazz Messengers, and his pivotal contribution to Miles Davis’ second great quintet in the mid-1960s.  He continued his career in the 1970s with Weather Report, a great jazz fusion band, and pursued side projects like Native Dancer with Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento, and his own recordings as a bandleader in the 1990s and 2000s.

Also, it goes into the heartbreak of the losing his daughter Iska at age 14 and his beloved 2nd wife, Ana Maria in the TWA Airline Crash in July 1996. Shorter turns to Buddhism after experiencing those tragedies and becomes a sage in his later years.

Zero Gravity encapsulates one of America’s brilliant musicians in a matter of fact but honorable way. I will end this blog post with a few sections from an article co-written by Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. They wrote this an open letter to the next generation of artists, and I believe in these words wholeheartedly.

Don’t Be Afraid To Interact With Those Who Are Different From You:  The world needs more one-on-one interaction among people of diverse origins with a greater emphasis on art, culture, and education. Our differences are what we have in common. We need to be connecting with one another, learning about one another, and experiencing life with one another. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.

Welcome The Unknown: There is no dress rehearsal for life because life, itself, is the real rehearsal. Every relationship, obstacle, interaction is a rehearsal for the next adventure in life. Everything is connected. Everything builds. Nothing is ever wasted. This type of thinking requires courage. Be courageous and do not lose your sense of exhilaration and reverence for this wonderful world around you.

Appreciate The Generation That Walked Before You: Your elders can help you. They are source of wealth in the form of wisdom. They have weathered storms and endured the same heartbreaks; let their struggles be the light that shines the way in the darkness. Don’t waste time repeating their mistakes. Instead, take what they’ve done and capault you towards building a progressively better world for the progeny to come.

Embrace and Conquer the Road Less Traveled: The world needs new pathways. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by common rhetoric, or false beliefs and illusions about how life should be lived. It’s up to you be the pioneers. Strive to create new actions artistically and with the pathway of your life.  Never conform.

Those four principles cover a lot and represent what Wayne Shorter stood for in his life. I get it and want to live the artistic life that he did.  Zero Gravity is a must for jazz and music documentary fans. But, I would add that all artists should watch it too.  A geniue artist has a lot to teach us about how they lived their life.



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