Puneet Varma (Editor)

The All Seeing Eye

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Released  1966
Genre  Free jazz
Label  Blue Note BST 84219
Recorded  October 15, 1965
Length  44:19
Studio  Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs

The All Seeing Eye is the ninth jazz album by saxophonist Wayne Shorter, recorded on October 15, 1965, and released on the Blue Note label as BLP 4219 and BST 84219. The album features performances by Shorter with Freddie Hubbard, Grachan Moncur III, James Spaulding, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Joe Chambers with Shorter's brother Alan Shorter guesting on one track. The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow states: "it is clear from the start that the music on this CD reissue is not basic bop and blues... the dramatic selections, and their brand of controlled freedom has plenty of subtle surprises. This is stimulating music that still sounds fresh over three decades later".


Album conception

In the album's original liner notes, Shorter explains that the album was conceived as an attempt to depict the meaning of life, existence and the nature of God and the universe. In the long interview with Nat Hentoff, the saxophonist mentions the meanings of each piece, which will be hereby shortly summarized: "The All Seeing Eye" depicts the ubiquitous eye of God; "the solos, moreover, depict the machinery involved in the process of creation". "Genesis" obviously refers to the creation of all things; if the first part mostly consists in free tempo phrases, it "goes into 4/4 straight time to indicate that everything is beginning to settle down". Shorter further explains that he tried to give "Genesis" an open-endedness feeling "because, once begun, the creative process keeps going". "Chaos" reflects "wars, disagreements and the difficulty men have in understanding each other", whilst "Face of the Deep", a ballad in a minor key – the more cohesive piece of the album -, mirrors God bethinking on His creation. Shorter meant the composition as hopeful. The closing piece, "Mephistopheles", is a composition by Wayne's older brother Alan, and it emphasizes the ominous presence of evil; Wayne notes: "At the end, that loud, high climax can be taken as a scream. If you consort with the Devil, and are fooled by his unpredictability, that scream is a measure of the price you pay [...] and you are consigned to an eternity of torture, fire and brimstone".

Track listing

All compositions by Wayne Shorter except where noted.

  1. "The All Seeing Eye" – 10:32
  2. "Genesis" – 11:44
  3. "Chaos" – 6:56
  4. "Face of the Deep" – 5:29
  5. "Mephistopheles" (Alan Shorter) – 9:40


  • Wayne Shorter – tenor saxophone
  • Freddie Hubbard – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Grachan Moncur III – trombone
  • James Spaulding – alto saxophone
  • Herbie Hancock – piano
  • Ron Carter – bass
  • Joe Chambers – drums
  • Alan Shorter – flugelhorn (track 5 only)
  • References

    The All Seeing Eye Wikipedia

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