In April of 2012, I was contacted by the famed NY-based independent record label, High Note Records, to oversee a new compilation of my father’s music. High Note and my father have a long history going back to the mid-1970s (formerly known as Muse) when Woody Shaw began to establish his presence as one of the leading voices in the music. Anyone familiar with Woody’s recordings on Muse Records knows that that period was pivotal for him, musically, and also set the stage for his 5-album stint with Columbia Records (1977-1981). Given the opportunity and the rich historical signifiance, I did not hesitate to take on this project as producer (and author of liner notes).
The new CD, Woody Plays Woody, is a collection of my father’s original compositions performed by his two main working bands (trumpet-tenor and trumpet-trombone) during the late 1970s. The recordings are compiled from the Woody Shaw Live series of CDs (Vol. 1-4) that was released by High Note between 2000 and 2005, originally recorded live at the Keystone Korner. Upon discussing concepts with Joe Fields (Founder of High Note and Muse and a good friend of my father’s), I came to the realization that, never before had my father’s original music been the primary focus of any of his albums or reissue CDs. Sure, most of his recordings contain at least one or two of his original tunes, but never has there been a recording to exclusively highlight his original music, shedding light on his legacy as one of American’s great modern composers.
Tunes include Little Red’s Fantasy, Rahsaan’s Run, Stepping Stone, Organ Grinder, OPEC and Ginseng People. Hopefully, this CD will give people a chance to remember what an accomplished composer Woody Shaw was.
Personnel includes Carter Jefferson, Steve Turre, Stafford James, Mulgrew Miller, Larry Willis, Victor Lewis, and Tony Reedus. Release date is July 17, 2012.
High Note currently hosts an array of jazz artists such as Wallace Roney, Jeremy Pelt, Tom Harrell, Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Willis, Jack Walrath, Cedar Walton, and Joe Chambers to name just a few.