Excerpted from People Magazine
Kneeling barefoot before the Buddhist altar in his two-story home in Studio City, Calif., renowned jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter solemnly picks up a stick and pings a bell. Then he begins to chant, rocking on his knees.It is a ritual that Shorter, 62, has been performing repeatedly since he learned that his wife of 26 years, Ana Maria, 47, and his niece Dalila Lucien, 17, had died in the crash of Flight 800. "Buddhism is helping," he says. "It's an inquiry into our eternal existence."
But between chants his mind floods with memories of all the earthly pleasures he and Ana Maria enjoyed together: Of their first meeting at a Manhattan nightclub in 1967, where he was playing with Miles Davis. Of all the concert tours, first with Davis and later with the jazz ensemble Weather Report and others, on which she accompanied him over the years. It was Portuguese-born Ana Maria who introduced Shorter to Buddhism more than 20 years ago, bringing him a religious awakening that later helped both of them through the death of their only child, daughter Iska, who suffered a brain seizure in 1985 at age 14. The trip to Europe was a graduation present for Dalila, an aspiring artist, so she could see the paintings of the great masters. Though heartbroken over the loss of Ana Maria, Shorter tried to find solace. "Her guts and courage," he says, "transcended any plan by one human being to destroy another."
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