Trumpet player, composer and conductor, Woody Shaw is one of the most talented and innovative jazz musicians of his generation.
Woody Herman Shaw was born in 1944 in Laurinburg, North Carolina and grew up in New Jersey. He first learned to play the flugelhorn before taking up the trumpet at the age of eleven. A few years later, he went professional playing with local artists and went on to study at the Juilliard School.
His career took off in the early 1960s when he joined the band of drummer and percussionist Willie Bobo, a pioneer of Latin jazz. Other band members included Chick Corea and Joe Farrell. In 1963, he took part in Eric Dolphy's album Iron Man, then he left for Europe where he played with many artists such as Kenny Clarke, Bud Powell and Johnny Griffin.
Back in the United States in 1964, he plays with Horace Silver, Chick Corea, Andrew Hill, Max Roach and Archie Shepp and appears in many remarkable albums. He released his first album as a leader in 1970: Blackbone Legacy. This decade was also marked by several prestigious collaborations, notably with saxophonist Joe Henderson, drummer Art Blakey, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and drummer Louis Hayes. He gained notoriety through recordings and collaborations, notably with the album Rosewood, which won a Grammy nomination and the award for Best Jazz Album of 1978. He also played with the Paris Reunion Band in the 1980s.
Died in 1989, Woody Shaw was distinguished by his avant-garde style, mixing post-bop and modal jazz with notes of fusion and free jazz.
Photo credit: Tom Marcello
I'd like to do for the trumpet what John Coltrane did for the saxophone.