Wayne Shorter, the innovative tenor saxophonist who influenced the shape of modern jazz, has died at age 89. From his start in the 1960s playing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the Miles Davis Quintet, to the creation of jazz fusion with Miles and eventually Weather Report, to collaborations with Joni Mitchell, Santana, and Steely Dan, Shorter was one of the most productive trailblazers of the musical genre. From the New York Times:
Mr. Shorter often said he was drawn to music because it has "velocity and mystery." A lifelong fan of comic books and science fiction, he kept a shelf crowded with action figures and wore T-shirts emblazoned with the Superman "S" logo. In his later years, he cut the figure of a sage with a twinkle in his eye, issuing cryptic or elliptical statements that inevitably came back to a sense of play.
"Don't throw away your childish dreams," he said in 2012. "You have to be strong enough to protect them."
Throughout his career he refused to hew too closely to any tradition except that of fearless expedition. "The word 'jazz,' to me," he liked to say, "only means 'I dare you.'"