Rooster_Ties

Finally, a WOODY SHAW thread...

255 posts in this topic

I might be the only jazzhead out there who believes not only that Woody Shaw was the greatest jazz trumpeter ever, but also the greatest jazz musician ever ... and, actually, the greatest musician ever.

It's incredible to find this thread and hopefully converse with some folk whose lives have been truly inspired as mine has been by Wood's music.

Of course music is a very personal experience, and perhaps there is no point in asking "who's the greatest?".

But when you look at how little credit Wood is given compared to the "big names" of jazz, myself (at least) feels an obligation to argue his greatness:

In his life, Wood was ...

A man who radically redefined how jazz trumpet was played: technically, harmonically, melodically, and rhythmically.

A man who absorbed and respected the entire tradition of jazz trumpet but who nonetheless invented a completely unique style which in many respects is almost untraceable in influences and which is so difficult to understand and absorb that very very few players today have been able to incorporate aspects of it into their playing.

A man with a nearly endless mindspring of inventiveness: melodically, harmonically AND rhythmically ...

A man whose compositions are unforgettable because they allude to so many possible meaningful experiences, and because they elucidate so many nebulous and mysterious emotions. (A great composition to me is one that somehow relates to a personal emotion I experience in life in a direct, almost uncanny, manner. It doesn't matter so much what the song is really "about" ... it's how it phenomenologically relates to something I've emotionally experienced.)

A man whose music consistently courageously tackled the heights, the depths, and the very heart of the human experience in all its pain and joy.

A man who never compromised his ideals, never sold-out, never played badly (that I've ever heard), who played with so many greats, and who covered so much territory in the realm of true jazz (standards, hard-bop, modern, modal, avant-garde, outside, and whatever other labels the critics dreamed up).

A man who faced almost unbelievable bad luck, pain, and hardship in his personal and professional life, but nonetheless continued to consistently produce music at the highest level imaginable.

I can't even make it through one day of life on this planet without listening to Wood. Maybe I need to see a shrink.

Current topics ... I don't even know where to start ... except that the High Note Woody Live Volume IV indeed is now available and it's a very nice addition to the repertoire because it's generally a more relaxed mellow groove than Vols I,II,III ...

... well, except for a mind-blowing OPEC in which Woody shows once again why no trumpeter past or present could touch him in terms of uninterrupted flow of complex non-repetitive ideas on uptempo burners.

OPEC is a supernova like "Isabel The Liberator" on Live Vol 2, "Bilad as Sudan" on the Berlin date, or any of the versions of "Obsequious" -- although I am partial to the 1976 Berlin version where Wood and Slide Hampton trade bars, followed by the same from Rene McClean and Frank Foster.

I was lucky enough as a teenager to see both Freddie's and Woody's bands live at Keystone Korner many times in the late 70s / early 80s when both men were both at the peaks of their powers, with their greatest bands.

What I remember most is that although I was fascinated with Woody's music, I really could not understand it.

Decades later, after facing a number of severe misfortunes and extreme sadness in my personal life, now I think I finally understand what drove Wood to such heights. His music was his life and visa-versa and creating beauty and courage the way he did was perhaps the only way he could make it through another day on this planet.

Speculation, I know, but that's the way I think these days.

Is Joel Dorn out there somewhere? With his now-defunct 32 Records label, Joel deserves massive credit for not letting the world forget Wood's genius ... especially after Columbia wrote him off for ... what's that guy's name? The one who plays a bunch of fancy Monette horns and is about 100 times more over-recognized and over-appreciated as Wood was under-appreciated and under-recognized? (No offense ... but jazz trumpet effectively stopped evolving when Wood died).

For those who don't know, Woody Shaw III has started a very high quality website http://www.woodyshaw.com .... and yes there are t-shirts !

He has informed me that more unreleased Woody music is on the way ! This Summer, the live Stepping Stones date will be re-released on CD, including some new material, and Live from the Maintenance Shop CD (VOl. 1 & 2) will be out next Spring.

I have accumulated at great expense almost the entire known Wood discography ... and fortunately some very generous folks have donated to my cause some live recordings of various mysterious or unknown dates. I'll have to check with Woody Shaw III if it's ok to share this stuff with any of you who are interested, but hopefully he'll agree.

One final thing I'd thought I'd mention, Woody Shaw III has requested that discussions involving Woody's demise during his final years, and the circumstances of his death are off-limit topics. Just thought I'd mention that because, while it is difficult not to think about these matters, it really has nothing to do with any of us being alive right here right now today and experiencing the truly inspirational life-giving forces that Woody Shaw created for all of us.

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This Summer, the live Stepping Stones date will be re-released on CD, including some new material, and Live from the Maintenance Shop CD (VOl. 1 & 2) will be out next Spring.

This is fantastic news! I've been hoping for the live Vanguard material to come out on CD for a long time.

Even better the Maintenance Shop tapes! I really enjoyed those performances.

Welcome to the forum. I too am a huge Woody Shaw fan. Soon you will meet Rooster Ties, he's a Woody freak as well. And there are many others.......... :g

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Gimme some of what he's smokin' and tell everyone to ignore what I post! :lol:

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Isn't there also video footage of the maintenance shop stuff? Here's hoping for a DVD...

What's the personnel on that gig?

Thanks,

Bertrand.

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Apparently Woody's son has plans to release lots of DVDs.

Check it out :

http://www.woodyshaw.com/videography.htm

Mainly overseas stuff.

But seems like with the Jazz At The Maintenance Shop date it would almost be possible to write a polite, well-composed letter to PBS convincing them to show it on that weekly jazz show they have.

"Jazz at the Maintenance Shop"

Woody Shaw Quintet. Iowa Public Television

w/Carter Jefferson, Onaje Allen Gumbs, Stafford James, Volumes 1, 2, & 3

I hope they have some Keystone Korner videos somewhere. That little stage could get awfully crowded with greats ! Probably pure fantasy, but I'd trade a year of my life to see again that show I saw with Rahsaan, Wood, and Turre side by side.

Anyone know what happenned to Todd Barkan ?

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"Jazz at the Maintenance Shop"

Woody Shaw Quintet. Iowa Public Television

w/Carter Jefferson, Onaje Allen Gumbs, Stafford James, Volumes 1, 2, & 3

 

......and Victor Lewis, right?

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Yeah, it's gotta be Lewis ... he was Wood's most consistent sideman. I love how he uses just the sticks sometimes. Isn't he still playing quite a bit?

Is anyone interested in trying to figure out who would have the connections to put together a Wood tribute concert or a touring band or something along those lines and composing a letter and sending it to the various parties? Turre is the most obvious candidate, but Tyner or Miller are possibilities, Hayes is still around, and what about Todd Barkan or Michael Cuscuna?

Or maybe it could be that Wynton himself has regrets about how "the powers that be" effectively deposed Wood at the peak of his powers for a Young Lion who could produce big sales numbers ... Wood never really recovered from that. Especially since he never sold-out in any manner in the 70s and had the guts to diss everyone who did, including Hancock, Corea, and Hubbard.

Myself, I really don't know anything about what's currently going on in jazz except for what John Scofield, Charlie Hunter, and Dave Holland are up to.

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Anyone know what happenned to Todd Barkan ?

Todd Barkin is still producing recordings and booking Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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But seems like with the Jazz At The Maintenance Shop date it would almost be possible to write a polite, well-composed letter to PBS convincing them to show it on that weekly jazz show they have.

I believe that these videotapes are owned by Iowa Public television, produced for them by John Byers in the late 70's or VERY early 80's...help me out Free For All.

I've asked friends at the company about these tapes many times and Woody's estate controls these....now that WoodyIII is taking care of business, I would not doubt that we will see them in the very near future!

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Yeah, from what I understand, Woody Shaw III is planning all kinds of stuff. But first he's got to put it all together, his father's life story I mean ... which is no easy task considering he was only 10 when his father left us.

Myself, only the slightest excuse for a musician, I struggle to comprehend just the basics ... like where do those rapid descending lines with the trick articulation and outside harmonics come from? He uses a lot of these runs in his mid-late-70s and very-early-80s playing ... in different settings ... mainly uptempo numbers, but sometimes even slow stuff.

I don't remember Trane, or any sax player, ever playing anything like that ! I think some of Tyner's trademark riffs kind of remind me of that stuff.

I saw some transcriptions but I don't think the transcriber even knew how to notate that stuff properly. I couldn't play it.

That's part of what I mean when I say that he re-invented the trumpet ... he invented an entirely new style of playing.

But on a technical level I'm probably just babbling ... problem with not knowing music theory is that you can't describe very well what you hear to real musicians !

BTW. I just learned that Woody had perfect pitch and a photographic memory. Really. Not just the way lots of people throw those terms around. Explains to me a little bit about why he actually plays the trumpet in tune ! Through the lower, middle, and upper ranges. Unlike almost any other jazz trumpeter I can think of, except Arturo and the modern conservatory trained guys. And that was on a Bach -- an ferociously difficult instrument to play in tune.

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BTW. I just learned that Woody had perfect pitch and a photographic memory.

Perfect pitch is very rare.

Welcome to the board John.

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And that was on a Bach -- an ferociously difficult instrument to play in tune.

Huh? Who told you that?

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Who has the Live volumes 1-4 (or any of them, for that matter) mentioned on the woodyshaw.com site? Recommended?

Thanks.

PJJ

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Who has the Live volumes 1-4 (or any of them, for that matter) mentioned on the woodyshaw.com site?  Recommended?

Very much recommended Peter! All four are killer. They are on the Highnote label.

HERE is a link to a couple of them.

Woody at the peak of his powers! You won't be disappointed.

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Who has the Live volumes 1-4 (or any of them, for that matter) mentioned on the woodyshaw.com site? Recommended?

Thanks.

PJJ

Of course...

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High Note Live Vol 1,2,3 are all extraordinary. All three sessions consist almost entirely of compositions from Wood's studio albums, but mostly taken at faster tempos -- in some cases, much faster tempos.

The band is incredibly cohesive, the communication amongst the rhythm section (I believe it's Willis, James, and Lewis on every number) and their anticipation of how the soloist is constructing and building his composition is at the very highest level.

Most of all I would say that this is true small jazz club music at the very top of its game -- and that's as good as music ever got for me.

There's almost no point in me picking out tunes because every single one is stellar. It's either Carter Jefferson or Steve Turre upfront with Wood.

Vol 2 is my favorite. It contains what I consider to be perhaps the greatest live jazz trumpet improv ever recorded: Wood on "Isabel, The Liberator".

Not that I've heard every trumpet jazz improv on record, but some blow your mind so bad that you can't think how anything could be better.

I used to think that Lee live with Blakey on "A Night In Tunisia" couldn't be equaled, but I don't know anymore ....

.... and if you're a Carter Jefferson fan ... oh man ... he follows Wood with a statement of such fire and intensity that I wonder how anyone slept that night !

Live Vol 4 is not like 1,2,3. It's mainly slow-medium tempo numbers, some standards, Wood in a harmon twice, I think a flugel too -- a different variety of Wood, if you will.

However, it also includes the indescribable burner "OPEC" which might have been better placed on Vol 1, 2, or 3. Wood and Steve play some insanely b** a** s*** on this one.

Vols 1,2,3 are the the CDs I've listened to more than anything in my entire jazz collection.

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Who has the Live volumes 1-4 (or any of them, for that matter) mentioned on the woodyshaw.com site? Recommended?

Thanks.

PJJ

Yes, I have and highly recommend all four :tup

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Thanks for the info, John--now I can't wait to get them!

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The four live "HighNote" volumes are excellent, some of the best Shaw available. Everything's 10 minutes+, but nothing feels padded. Good versions of material he recorded in the studio.

I've always felt his best work was on Muse. And how many artists can you say THAT about. Unfortunately, I'm lukewarm on the Columbia stuff, albums I've owned since their original release - they're good, but seem to missing the spark of his Muse albums. I'm sure I'm in the minority on this. Maybe I should pull out the Mosaic box and see if my opinion's changed. (And, it would be nice if the Columbia Vanguard sessions resurfaced...)

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damn, I'm ordering those "Live" albums too very soon :)

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I've always felt his best work was on Muse.

The first or second run? Or both?

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I've always felt his best work was on Muse.

The first or second run? Or both?

Yes B-)

Edited by Eric

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Good question! I was thinking of the first: "Moontrane," "Little Red's...," the live in Berlin... (I'm also a sucker for those early '70's model-vamp back-beat tunes like "Love Dance.") But, now that you bring it up, the second was also very good, if a little more straight-up. Anyway, his "Muse" albums have worn well.

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