He has never been a flamboyant showman like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie or Miles Davis. Yet composer, saxophonist and bandleader Wayne Shorter is one of the key figures in jazz history, albeit in the background. In the bands of Art Blakey and Miles Davis and later in Weather Report, the formation he led with Joe Zawinul, he showed himself to be an unequaled composer and improviser. Even in this new millennium he can still be regarded as an innovator pur sang. On albums like Footprints Live and Beyond the Sound Barrier he makes music that breaks new ground and he and the brilliant young musicians that accompany him (pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade) are not at all afraid of adventurous playing. On the album Alegría Shorter wrote and arranged pieces for a larger ensemble with a wind section; a line of thought he continues with the Imani Winds quintet led by flutist Valerie Coleman.