Woody Shaw

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
In the Beginning (1965), 5.5/10
Blackstone Legacy (1970), 7/10
Song of Songs (1972), 6/10
Little Red's Fantasy (1976), 7/10
The Iron Men (1977), 6/10
Rosewood (1977), 7/10
Woody III (1979), 7/10
United (1981), 5.5/10

The disjointed trumpet style of Woody Shaw (1944) was due to a deliberate strategy of employing between pentatonic scales/modes to mold solos and melodies. Shaw spent the best years of his life gracing the recordings of Horace Silver (1965) and Max Roach (1968). He had already composed Moontrane in 1965. In The Beginning (december 1965) documents a session with tenorist Joe Henderson, pianist Larry Young or Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter or Paul Chambers, and drummer Joe Chambers.

He debuted as a leader only with the double LP Blackstone Legacy (december 1970), featuring two saxophonists, a pianist, two bassists and a drummer. The interplay in the 16-minute Blackstone Legacy, the 17-minute New World and the 14-minute Boo Ann's Grand bordered on bop, free and fusion. He changed format with every release: a sextet performed the four Shaw compositions of Song Of Songs (september 1972), a quintet accompanied him on Little Red's Fantasy (june 1976), a supergroup (Anthony Braxton on saxophones, Arthur Blythe on alto, Richard Abrams on piano, bass and drums) jammed with him in the 13-minute Song Of Songs off The Iron Men (april 1977), "concert ensembles" are featured on Rosewood (december 1977) and on the three-movement suite of Woody III (january 1979). He later stabilized on a quintet (with Steve Turre on trombone and Mulgrew Miller on piano) that debuted with United (march 1981), and returned to a more traditional sound. He died in 1989.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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