I would like to thank New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Newark, NJ Mayor Ras Baraka for issuing these two Official Proclamations (see below) to honor the 75th Birthday Anniversary of late trumpet legend and composer Woody Shaw (1944-1989).
This year, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019, Woody Shaw would have turned 75 years old. While he lived only 44 years, he left a tremendous impact on the world of music and blazed a trail forward that opened the path for countless musicians who continue to benefit from the sacrifices he made on behalf of his art, the trumpet, and music at large.
In the unfortunate absence of wider recognition for the invaluable contributions of many of our lesser-known but undeniably important musicians to this country's cultural heritage, I am proud and honored to see that the importance of Woody Shaw's cultural and musical legacy has been so eloquently articulated, and by two of the most prominent public servants of his home state of New Jersey.
Let this be a call to action and statement of pride to those of us who understand the intrinsic value of art in enriching the collective human experience during these often socially and spiritually trying times. And let it be a reminder of the need for us to defend, protect, and preserve the resounding sacrifices of our heroes and those who gave their lives to the vision of a more just and beautiful world.
Beyond All Limits,
Woody Louis Armstrong Shaw III
The Woody Shaw Institute of Global Arts
Governor of New Jersey, Phillip Murphy:
It is my pleasure to honor and recognize the 75th Birth Anniversary of the legendary trumpeter and composer Woody Herman Shaw, Jr.
Proudly raised in the City of Newark, Woody Shaw cemented his place in the pantheon of New Jersey's most distinguished and beloved musicians. From a young age he studied classical trumpet among some of jazz's most influential mentors and musicians and quickly grew to be a virtuoso respected around the globe. With every note and chord played, Woody touched the hearts and souls of people from all walks of life and inspired all of us with his love of the art. Although his life ended far too early, his legacy will continue to live on through The Woody Shaw Institute of Global Arts and through the deep and undeniable impact of his music.
I am humbled to join with Woody Shaw's family and friends in commemorating the 75th anniversary of his birth and to recognize the rich cultural legacy of artistic excellence he left behind.
My very best,
Phillip D. Murphy
Mayor of Newark, N.J., Ras Baraka:
WOODY SHAW, JR.
December 24, 2019
WHEREAS: WOODY SHAW, JR. was born in on December 24, 1944, in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He grew up in Newark, where he began his musical career as a bugler in the George Washington Carver, Junior Elks, and Junior Mason Drum and Bugle Corps in the 1950s. He studied classical trumpet under Jerome Ziering at Cleveland Junior High School and went on to attend Arts High School, playing in the local jazz scene; and
WHEREAS: WOODY SHAW, JR. left Newark in 1964 and moved to Paris to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Eric Dolphy, with whom he had made his first recording debut. Shaw lived and performed actively as a working musician in Paris at the age of 19, performing with Nathan Davis and working with legends such as Kenny Clarke, Donald Byrd, Art Taylor, Dexter Gordon and other musicians living in Europe.
WHEREAS: WOODY SHAW, JR. received awards for his work as a Columbia Recording Artist, which included two nominations for Best Jazz Album and Best Trumpeter of the Year in DownBeat Magazine in 1980. Shaw gave lectures and master classes around the world, was nominated for two Grammy Awards for his 1979 “Rosewood” album, was widely acclaimed for his revolutionary jazz trumpet style, and is considered to be one of the last major innovators in jazz history. He died on May 10, 1989; and
WHEREAS: WOODY SHAW, JR. was one of Newark’s greatest musicians, an exemplar of our city’s long history as a center for music and jazz. He was described by WBGO CEO Cephas Bowles as “the patron saint of Newark” and he remains a role model, exemplar, and inspiration to new generations of jazz musicians, both from our city and across the world; and
WHEREAS: As Mayor of Newark, I salute WOODY SHAW, JR., as the City of Newark joins with his son, Woody Shaw, III, and his entire family to celebrate the 75th birthday of this talented and creative musician and Newark native.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RAS J. BARAKA, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, do hereby recognize:
WOODY SHAW, JR.
and I urge all residents, employees, and visitors in the City of Newark to join me in this special tribute to WOODY SHAW, JR..
RAS J. BARAKA, MAYOR