Artist Details

Woody Shaw

One of the most gifted and innovative jazz musicians of his generation, trumpeter Woody Shaw navigated the rapidly fluctuating jazz scene of the '70s and '80s to create a lasting body of work that extends his influence well beyond his tragic death at age 44. Born in Laurinburg, NC, on December 24, 1944, Shaw grew up in Newark, NJ. Interestingly, Shaw's father, Woody Shaw, Sr., sang in the gospel group the Diamond Jubilee Singers in the '30s and attended high school in Laurinburg with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie -- a connection that did not go unnoticed by a young musically inclined Shaw. Starting out on bugle, Shaw moved to trumpet at age 11 and continued his studies in music theory while attending an arts high school in Newark. By his teens, Shaw had gained a strong knowledge base in music and was already playing jazz. Early on, he evinced the influence of such artists as Louis Armstrong and Harry James, but quickly fell under the spell of such modern trumpeters as Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Booker Little, Lee Morgan, and others. Later on, Shaw would also express much interest in the advancements of saxophonist John Coltrane, whose style and harmonic approach is clearly evident in his playing.