Music Review: 'Children Of The Light,' Children Of The Light Children of the Light is two-thirds of the iconic Wayne Shorter Quartet. On their new self-titled album, Michelle Mercer says the trio's lively group improv is like a family dinner where everyone's talking at once yet somehow everyone's being heard.
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Music Review: 'Children Of The Light,' Children Of The Light

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Music Review: 'Children Of The Light,' Children Of The Light

Review

Music Reviews

Music Review: 'Children Of The Light,' Children Of The Light

Music Review: 'Children Of The Light,' Children Of The Light

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Children of the Light is two-thirds of the iconic Wayne Shorter Quartet. On their new self-titled album, Michelle Mercer says the trio's lively group improv is like a family dinner where everyone's talking at once yet somehow everyone's being heard.

(SOUNDBITE OF WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET SONG, "PLAZA REAL")

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

That's one of the greatest working bands in jazz, the Wayne Shorter Quartet. The group's been playing together for 15 years. Last year, 82-year-old Wayne Shorter took a break, and the other three quarters of the group toured as a trio called Children of the Light. Now that trio is out with a new self-titled recording. Music commentator Michelle Mercer says Wayne Shorter may not be on the recording, but he's very much present.

MICHELLE MERCER, BYLINE: The first sign of this trio's comfort with spinoff status is its name. Children of the Light is a twist on the Wayne Shorter composition "Children Of The Night." Pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patittucci and drummer Brian Blade all entered the Wayne Shorter Quartet as bandleaders. And in most ways, the group functions as a collective. Here, on Children of the Light's title track, the trio's lively group improv is like a family dinner where everyone's talking at once yet somehow, everyone's being heard.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT SONG, "CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT")

MERCER: The big difference here is in the composition. The Wayne Shorter Quartet has a unique strategy of improvising on Shorter's entire 50-year compositional history with the intrigue of never knowing which tune or theme will develop in concert. By contrast, Children of the Light plays compositions written by all three members and improvises on just one tune at a time. The trio also stretches out on different instruments, as when Perez plays electric piano and Pentateuch, electric bass here on Perez's tune "Lumen."

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT SONG, "LUMEN")

MERCER: These musicians can proceed with the confidence that whatever they might choose to play, a band mate will be there to hear and answer them. When Danilo Perez suddenly shifts from abstraction to groove and Brian Blade's drumming stays tightly in sync, he's like a trapeze artist who's free to soar because he knows another skilled set of hands is flying through the air to meet him.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT SONG, "LUMEN")

MERCER: Wayne Shorter is Children of the Light's hidden chord, but this trio draws power from plenty of other sources and influences too. And with its inspired music, Children of the Light shines brightly enough to last as long as any band.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT SONG, "WITHIN EVERYTHING")

CORNISH: Michelle Mercer reviewed Children of the Light's self-titled new album. She's the author of the biography "Footprints: The Life And Music Of Wayne Shorter."

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