In 2012 the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) commemorated Woody Shaw with a series of publications, recordings, and events. The goal was to bring Woody’s music into focus within the broader context of the trumpet world, allowing people to get a deeper understanding of Woody’s innovations on the instrument while spreading the word about his music. See below for details on the project and related materials.
The 2012 Woody Shaw ITG Project includes:
- A new CD of unreleased recordings – Woody Shaw: A Trumpet Legacy Revisited for ITG members.
- New article by Shaw’s son Woody Shaw III, for the March 2012 ITG journal.
- New solo transcription of To Kill A Brick by Marcus Printup (from the CD).
- Liner Notes: Essays, analyses, and interviews with trombonist and composer Steve Turre, Jazz Studies professor Pat Harbison, and musicology professor Dr. Tammy Kernodle.
- Annual International Trumpet Guild Conference – A public talk by Woody Shaw III on the life and music of his father.
Woody Shaw: A Trumpet Legacy Revisited – Field Recordings of a Jazz Master.
Available to members of the International Trumpet Guild and now for sale to the public.
- Shaw, Woody: To Kill a Brick (11:14) (Solo Transcription)
- Shaw, Woody: Joshua C (18:23)
- Fischer/Cares: We’ll Be Together Again (10:40)
- Shaw, Woody: OPEC (21:00)
- Bonus track: The Mark Levine Nonet. Woody Shaw’s solo on the chords to Giant Steps (4:39)
EXCERPTS AND WRITINGS:
Who is Woody Shaw?
by Woody Louis Amrstrong Shaw III
“As we enter a new era in the world of music, as we reach a new vantage point from which to reassess the many contributions of our greatest historic artists, thinkers, and innovators, we find the music of Woody Shaw surfacing with newfound urgency, and an unquestionable relevance to the many changes of the world and of the human condition. The music of Woody Shaw, a product of grueling self-exploration, sacrifice, and an indestructible sense of purpose, is the reflection of a man’s most honest attempt to improve himself, to strive for excellence in an imperfect world, and to overcome all obstacles in a world full of them. As many of the jazz masters have been known to state when asked how they achieved such heights of virtuosity and innovation, ‘There are no shortcuts.’ If ever there were an individual whose life embodied this very statement, it is Woody Shaw (1944 – 1989).”
This article is presented here through the kind permission of the International Trumpet Guild (ITG). For more information about ITG, its vast resources for trumpet enthusiasts, and membership, please visit their website (www.trumpetguild.org).
by Dr. Tammy Kernodle, Professor of Musicology, Miami University (Ohio)
“Endowed with the gifts of perfect pitch and a photographic memory, Shaw pushed beyond the conventional ideas of his time. His musical style reflected an acute knowledge of jazz’s early traditions, a developing understanding of the musical cultures of Africa and Asia, and clear conceptions of his own musical voice. At times he easily sounded as if in each solo he had fused the virtuosity and technical brilliance of Dizzy Gillespie with the warm, full-bodied soulful sound of Clifford Brown and harmonic complexity of John Coltrane. His use of polytonalities and choice of harmonic and tonal colors stretched beyond performance conventions associated with modal jazz and the free jazz aesthetic. His oeuvre, particularly the albums Rosewood, Woody III, and Stepping Stonesreveal his conscious efforts to push the music beyond the set boundaries.”
Analysis: Making Woody Shaw Woody Shaw
by Pat Harbison, Professor of Music, Jazz Studies, Indiana University.
“Improvising over Hindemith. In addition to knowledge of the jazz tradition and contemporary jazz innovations, Shaw was fascinated with late 19th and 20th century ‘classical’ music and intently studied the harmonic language and compositional approaches found in that music. Shaw was fascinated by the music of such composers as Bartok, Stravinsky, Messiaen and Hindemith. I spent a considerable amount of time with Shaw in the mid to late 1970s. At one point I recall that he was travelling with recordings of the piano accompaniments to several of the Hindemith Sonatas for the various instruments. During that period he made it a regular practice to improvise by ear using the Hindemith piano accompaniments as ‘play-alongs.’ He was also the first person to suggest I read Hindemith’s The Craft of Musical Composition and Technique de mon langage musical by Messiaen. It is quite easy for me to hear the influence of these studies in the melodic and harmonic language of both his compositions and improvisations.”
Workin’ With Woody: An Interview with Steve Turre
by Tom Erdmann
“Woody also had perfect pitch. We used to play a game after the gig; I have a vivid memory of playing the game one night after playing at Keystone Korner. Ray Drummond, the great bass player, was hanging out with us one night. We’re drinking some beers and talking. So we started to play the game. I went over to the piano and put my fingers on the keyboard in any old crazy way I could think off, then Woody would say what the notes were, asking if he wanted me to have him start listing the notes from the top or the bottom. From whatever direction, Woody never missed. Ray saw that and thought it was a trick. So Ray went over and played some crazy stuff with his elbow way up at the top of the keyboard. Woody asked if he should start at the top or the bottom. Me, I’m trained and hear from the bottom up. Ray thought he would get him and said, ‘From the top.’ Woody decided to get Ray and deliberately called all the notes a half-step high. When Woody got down to the last note Ray was laughing and saying, ‘I got you.’ Then Woody said, ‘Okay, now put everything down a half-step.’ Oh was Ray mad. ‘You set me up,’ Ray kept saying.”