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Woody Shaw

Trumpet
December 24, 1944 -- May 10, 1989

Woody Shaw

Woody Shaw



"Woody Shaw is full of beautiful fire, drive, imagination, and harmonic knowledge. I like him better than any other young trumpeter."

--Horace Silver


Woody Shaw, a member of the Horace Silver unit since June, 1965, is one of the new generation of jazzmen who--like drummer Tony Williams--reveal such stunning technical skill and conceptual inventiveness while still in their teens. Joe Henderson first heard Woody when the latter was seventeen, and, says Joe, "he shocked me then. He's got all the basics down, he's developed his own style, and his future is without limits."

Woody was born in Laurinburg, North Carolina, on December 24, 1944, but was raised in Newark, New Jersey. In the sixth grade he was drawn to the trumpet, his earliest favorites having been Louis Armstrong and Harry James. Then he heard Dizzy ("I flipped"), and by the time Woody was thirteen, he was also listening hard to Lee Morgan and Donald Byrd. Thereafter "a whole lot of cats" influenced him--among them Kenny Dorham, Clark Terry and Nat Adderley. As for his current shaping forces, he lists the late Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis ("the way he's playing now").

Almost entirely self-taught as an instrumentalist and composer, Shaw believes that "it's not what you learn in school but what you hear musically in what's happening around you that counts." He listens a great deal to classical music--particularly Bartok, Hindemith, Kodaly and Schoenberg--and to the jazz avant-garde. Shaw left Newark Arts High School at the age of sixteen because "I had to play," and has since worked with Willie Bobo, Eric Dolphy and Rufus Jones before joining Silver. He was supposed to have joined Eric Dolphy in Europe in the summer of 1964, but Dolphy died just before he arrived. Shaw came anyway, and free-lanced there with Larry Young, Kenny Clarke, Donald Byrd and Nathan Davis before being invited by Horace Silver to join him.

--NAT HENTOFF, from the liner notes,
Unity, Blue Note.


A selected discography of Woody Shaw albums.


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