Saturday, October 22, 2011


Encountering the name Woody Shaw (1944-1989) in print or conversation, it’s not uncommon for a phrase much like “ the last original trumpet voice” to follow. For Shaw was  just such a player: a daring horn stylist with an utterly personal and technically advanced approach that has yet to be matched since his untimely death. Even as a young up-and-comer, Shaw was eager to investigate the cutting edge of modern jazz, working for a time with the innovative multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy.  After a memorable stint with the hard bop maestro, Horace Silver, Shaw leaped head first towards the post bop firmament, collaborating with such visionary player/composers as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, and Larry Young, whose 1965 masterwork, Unity, featured Shaw’s soon-to-be-standard, “The Moontrane.” Further work with such A-list leaders as Art Blakey, Max Roach and Dexter Gordon (Shaw is heard to great advantage on the legendary tenorist’s joyous Homecoming) followed, but it was only a matter of time before this blatantly talented horn man set out on his own. The late 1970s and 80’s found Shaw fronting ensembles that brought attention to such fine players as Steve Turre and Mulgrew Miller, as well as shining light on the leader’s own adventurous, strikingly virtuosic improvising.

On such landmark Columbia albums as Woody lll and For Sure! -- projects that represented a career peak for Shaw in terms of both personal creativity and commercial exposure -- his impressive compositions ( the outstanding “Organ Grinder” among them) and arranging skills for expanded ensembles are brought to the fore. Although he didn’t live to conquer the personal problems that set back his career, present day trumpet icons from Dave Douglas to Wynton Marsalis have acknowledged Shaw’s lasting influence. Let Miles Davis have the last word about Shaw: “Now there's a great trumpet player. He can play different from all of them."

This collection brings together the most complete package to date of Woody Shaw's Columbia albums – a total of 6 great albums on 6 CDs, with each individual album is packaged in a replica mini-LP sleeve reproducing that album’s original cover art. Included is a booklet with full discographical info., rare photos, and liner notes. The box set co-produced, co-directed and designed by Shaw's son, Woody Shaw III, who also contributed liner notes along with Shaw's long time friend and producer, Michael Cuscuna.

Albums included:
Rosewood (1977)     
Stepping Stones (1978)      
Stepping Stones Bonus Tracks  
Woody III (1979)        
For Sure! (1979)  
United (1981)

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