Woody Shaw III - Bio

Woody Louis Armstrong Shaw III is an entrepreneur, consultant, cultural curator, creative producer and the legal, administrative, and executive director for the legacies of his late father - trumpet innovator and composer Woody Shaw (1944-1989), and his step-father, legendary tenor saxophonist, composer, and Academy Award nominated actor Dexter Gordon (1923-1990). 


Professional Background

Throughout the past two decades of preserving and extending his musical heritage, Woody has worked in areas such as business and technology, entertainment, nonprofit and estate management, intellectual property law, licensing, archival research and documentation, copyright, publishing, event production, musical and artistic direction, performance, curation, digital marketing, audio and video production and editing, physical and digital distribution, streaming, branding and design, research, strategic planning, financial management and many other areas.

He has worked as a digital media consultant to small businesses, musicians, artists, estates, and international non-governmental organizations including the United Nations Department of Public Information. He is Founder of Woody Shaw Legacy LLC, Dex Music LLC, and co-founder and CEO of The Dexter Gordon Society. Woody III also administers the associated websites WOODYSHAW.COM and DEXTERGORDON.COM.

As producer and author of numerous articles and essays on the legacy of his musical forebearers, Woody Shaw III has worked as music producer and writer for Mosaic Records, Sony Music Entertainment, High Note Records and Elemental Records and has overseen agreements with Universal Music Group, Warner Music, Storyville Records, Pop Market, Concord Music Group and many others. He has produced musical events for the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, the Jazz Standard, and NPR Music. 

Woody is also published in the University of Pittsburgh’s International Jazz Archive Journal, the International Trumpet Guild Journal, Jazz Japan magazine and has spoken publicly at Harvard University, Columbus State University, and BMCC and has appeared on such radio networks as WBGO, NPR, 90.1 Rochester, WBAI, Sirius XM Radio and others. As drummer, Woody has performed throughout New York City, in Europe, and in Asia working with percussionist Joe Chambers’ Urban Grooves Ensemble, and with saxophonists Rene McLean (son of jazz legend Jackie McLean), Hamiet Bluiett and others. 

Educational Background

Woody III studied and worked in a multitude of disciplines throughout the course of his journey, amassing a wealth of international, cultural, and professional experience in the world of arts legacy preservation.

Woody III received his B.A. in Ethnomusicology at Hobart College in 2001. In 2004, he received his B.F.A in Jazz Performance from New School University.

In 2006-2007, Woody III attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s graduate program serving as the Associate Instructor (assistant professor for over 150 students) for department chair, legendary jazz composer and educator Dr. David N. Baker. 

Graduate Work

Woody III went on to receive his Master's (M.A.) from Columbia University in Arts Administration with concentrations in business and arts law in 2015. While at Columbia he was awarded the William Randolph Hearst Fellowship, the Helen E. Richards Scholarship, the Teachers College Scholarship, and received support from the Michael Eisner Educational Fund. He has professional certification in Intellectual property law from New York University and in business from Columbia University. 

In 2014, Woody III was awarded the prestigious Hutchins Fellowship by the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. During this time he focused on the consolidation of over 20 years’ worth on the life and musical legacy of his late father, legendary trumpet icon and composer Woody Shaw, Jr. (1944-1989). 

Recent Projects

In 2018, Woody III wrote the afterword for the new Dexter Gordon biography, entitled Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (University of California Press. November 2018), written by his mother, renowned jazz historian, author, and former manager and producer Maxine Gordon

In 2019, Woody III was hired as the Executive Director of The Mary Lou Williams Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization commemorating the musical legacy and extensive compositional repertoire of late jazz innovator, educator, pianist, and composer Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981).

In 2020, Woody launched the first-ever Woody Shaw iOS Streaming App (for iPhone and iPad) offering exclusive audio and video recordings made available through an archival collection of unreleased music by his father, trumpet legend Woody Shaw Jr.

In 2021, Woody secured the reinstatement of an official street name in honor of his father after more than fifteen years since its absence.  “Woody Shaw Jr. Plaza” now appears at the popular intersection at William St. and Broad St. in Newark, New Jersey, Shaw Jr.’s hometown.

Woody Shaw III currently works as a consultant and coach, an independent artist, writer, and researcher, and provides creative, professional, digital and educational services to businesses and individuals worldwide.




  • Harvard University, Hutchins Fellowship, W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute (2014-2016)
  • Columbia University, William Randolph Hearst Fellowship (2013)
  • Columbia University, Helen E. Richards Scholarship (2013)
  • Columbia University, Michael Eisner Educational Fund (2012)
  • Columbia University, Teachers College Scholarship (2012)
  • Hobart College, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Alumni Award (2004)
  • Hobart College, Tanaka Foundation Award, Technos International College in Japan (2000)


  • Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (Writer, Book Afterword) | University of California Press (2018)
  • Woody Shaw Quintet: Live in Tokyo (Writer & Producer) | Elemental Jazz (2018)
  • Woody Shaw: Jazz Rebel Rooted in Tradition (Interview. Jazz Special magazine, Denmark) (2018)
  • The New Woody Shaw Quintet Vol. 1: At Onkel Pö's Carnegie Hall, Vol. 1 (Producer) | Jazzline (2017)
  • Woody Shaw & Louis Hayes: The Tour, Vol. 2 (Writer & CD Producer) | High Note Records (2017) 
  • Woody Shaw & Louis Hayes: The Tour, Vol. 1 (Writer & CD Producer) | High Note Records (2016)
  • Larry Young in Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Writer & Associate CD Producer) | Resonance Records (2015)
  • Woody Shaw: The Complete Muse Sessions (7 CDs) (Writer & CD Producer) | Mosaic Records (2013)
  • Woody Plays Woody (Writer, CD Producer) | CD Reissue | High Note Records (2013)
  • Woody Shaw: The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (6 CDs) (Writer, CD Producer, Graphic
    Designer, Art Director, Project Director) | Sony Music Entertainment (2012)
  • Dexter Gordon: The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (6 CDs) (Graphic Designer, Art Director, Project Director) | Sony Music Entertainment (2012)
  • Who is Woody Shaw? (Writer) | International Trumpet Guild Journal, Vol. 36 (2012)
  • Memories of My Fathers (on Dexter Gordon and Woody Shaw) (Writer) (Japanese) | Jazz Japan (2012)
  • Woody ‘n’ Dex III ("The Woody Shaw III interview") (Writer) | Ottawa Citizen (2012)
  • Woody Shaw: Eight Jazz Classic Originals (Writer) | Aebersold Books (2009)
  • UNITY: The Inseparability of Life and Music – A Holistic View of Woody Shaw
    The International Jazz Archives Journal, Vol. III | University of Pittsburgh (Writer) (2010)
  • Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard (Writer & Producer) | Sony Music (2005)


  • Harvard University, Woody Shaw and The Quest for Unity, Barker Center, Cambridge, MA (2015)
  • NJPAC, Jazz On A Summer’s Day, film panel discussion with Nelson George, Newark, NJ (2014)
  • Harvard University, Jazz, Freedom, and Culture, Class 179, Cambridge, MA (2013)
  • International Trumpet Guild Conference, presentation, Columbus State Univ., Columbus, GA (2013)
  • Laurinburg Institute, commencement speech on Shaw family history, Laurinburg, NC (2012)
  • Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Scenes Through the Cinema Lens, panel, BMCC, New York (2011)
  • NY Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Remembering Woody Shaw, panel, BMCC, New York, NY (2010)


  • WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM, Afternoon Jazz with Michael Borne (2013)
  • WCOM 103.5 FM, Sunday Night Jazz with Larry Reni Thomas (2012 and 2013)
  • WBAI NY 99.5 FM, Suga’ In My Bowl with Joyce Jones (2012 and 2013)
  • 90.1 FM, Jazz Rochester with Derrick Lucas (2010)
  • Sirius XM Radio, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Blue Note Hour, Michael Cuscuna, Bruce Lundvall (2010)
  • WLIU 88.3 (2010) FM, NPR The Song is You with Bonnie Grice (2009)