Wayne Shorter,Rest in Peace. Walking through Dublin City in 1987 i called unexpectedly into the office of a popular and respected Music Magazine and announced to the receptionist "You know that Wayne Shorter is coming to play in Town and i would like to interview him" Slightly bemused at the impetuous youth standing before her,she smiled and replied in a friendly way "Yes of course but do you realize that we have experienced journalists that will cover his concert and interview him." I must have looked a bit crest-fallen at this news and the friendly receptionist said "Well leave me your name and number anyhow". With my ego slightly bruised i walked out on to the street and began the process of recovering from my embarrassment and over the coming months forgot about it until the day of the concert.
Sitting at home at 5pm the phone rang,it was one of those old bakelite phones that were popular back then,i answered the call, "Hello,Can i talk with Mr.Whelan?" the voice on the other end inquired."This is Mimi(not her real name) from CBS records and we understand that you would like to meet and interview Wayne Shorter"..."Can you be in the Burlington Hotel in 1 hour to conduct the interview?"... A short pause from my end while i processed the weight of the request "Hello she said.it's either a Yes or No, as the regular interviewer from the magazine is unable to make it"..Of course i answered "Yes i will be there!!" I rushed to get myself ready and found the only mobile recording device i had at the time,a dusty old portable cassette recorder and grabbed my coat and took a bus into the city and on the way planning my questions and interview strategy,i was a huge Weather Report fan and had bought most of their albums on LP so i was confident that we could easily converse on their history.
On arrival at the Hotel i met the record company representative and she gave me some guidelines on the interview "Please focus on talking about the current album(Phanthom Navigator) as a priority"she said.The interview is 45 minutes long".
She guided me along a corridor and knocked on a door and a voice said "Come in"and i was introduced to Wayne and then she left us. Suddenly it was just myself and Wayne was sitting on the other side of a desk. Firstly i apologised for the antiquity of my cassette recorder as i placed it on the desk and removed my coat and mentioned that i had rushed into town to be there.
Wayne.probably on seeing this slightly flustered person in front of him, calmly said to me"Hey it's just you and me here so lets's just have a nice chat together"And we talked about everything in a relaxed casual manner,everything from where where the best places in Ireland to visit and where to buy a nice wollen sweater as he planned a Holiday in Ireland the following year. We talked about the current lineup and the new album and the introduction of Drummer Terri Lynn Carrington in the band,as i explained i lived in Copenhagen and had seen a great show with Terri in the Prima Band. Wayne put me totally at ease chatting with him and his calm and warm presence will stay with me forever.We talked beyond our allotted time and as we were finishing Terri entered the room too.
A wonderful and unforgettable experience and my sincere thanks to the receptionist at the Magazine for not dismissing this awkward youth,the CBS staff for the chance and to Wayne Shorter for bringing his magic and kind humanity to people around the world and his amazing contribution to music. Thank you.