Rooster_Ties

Finally, a WOODY SHAW thread...

211 posts in this topic

Anyone know what happenned to Azar Lawrence? He's on "The Moontane" and was the regular axe in Tyner's band 73-76 I believe ... also played with Horace Tapscott -- which might be what inspired those ferocious "Tapscott's Blues" takes ! (I would love some bootlegs of that tune ...)

What a player ! The man was truly "one of another kind" (to borrow a Freddie title) ...

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lawrence has a few good albums on prestige or milestone or fantasy or whatever. you know, one of those labels. i actually like the middle LP best. right now i can't remember one of their names. it is uh, "Bridge to a New Age" and the other one i don't remember and then "People Movin". i have them all on LP. it would be great if they were reissued. the second one has a beautiful brazilian-ish composition on it called "highway" i think. this is all off the top of my head, so sorry. the first two would make a good two-fer except concord sucks so i am sure they won't reissue any of it. i see that companies like atlantic and blue note are getting albums reissued by companies like water so i don't see why companies like fantasy and ECM don't get into this licensing stuff out thing. well ECM is probably too anal to do it. but fantasy should start licensing out more, especially now with the concord thing. the final solo lawrence album, "People Movin" is a jazz funk album and is a little late in the game to be so great as far as this genre goes but it does have some decent stuff on it and i would play it if people were over trying to have a good time for something more esoteric yet pleasant. it actually ends with an awesome earth wind and fire cover which is pretty spacy. i should relisten to the album i guess.

on another note-i never really cared for woody shaw as i always get the impression he is taking things too seriously and his head is about to explode. sometimes this can be ok, but his compositions sometimes seem too heavy handed or something. no humor...

i do like "song of songs" a lot as well as "the moontrane". and some of shaw's sideman work is good. but something like "little red's fantasy" or "blackstone legacy" which should appeal to me don't give me any room to breathe.

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I gotta agree with you on one thing ... on the few occassions when I feel like my life is cruising along, no dark clouds on the horizon, no tough struggles to face, no chance that I go DOWN ... at those times, Woody's music isn't always what I reach for. Sco is great for those times.

But, like a lot of us I assume, I ain't got an easy life, and Wood dealt supremely well with the very serious s*** you have overcome if that's your situation or fate or destiny or whatever ....

I think most of the really compelling jazz music of the last century came out of the 60s idealism ... the idea that yes it was possible to change the world with positive thinking. Today, I think everyone is resigned to life in the counter-culture as being permanently marginalized economically, politically, socially ... either that or everyone got so rich that they don't care anymore.

Yeah, man, I do think his head was about to explode sometimes, -- or his horn, or the entire bandstand, club, or concert hall ! But so is mine -- quite frequently ! And it could be that way for an awful lot of people in this world who have serious problems they have no choice but to deal with, severe challenges in their personal lives, or who see evil s*** going down all around them every day and are powerless to do much about it.

Serious music is for serious people. The rest don't need it.

Edited by johnagrandy

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Don't mean to drive you mad, but does anyone else have copies of the two cassettes worth of Shaw material (maybe 70-90 minutes in all, but I haven't checked in years) that was recorded by National Public Radio at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago on 12/32/79 (i.e. New Year's Eve)? As I recall it's top-drawer Shaw, with Azar Lawrence, Mulgrew Miller, Stafford James, and Victor Lewis.

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You know Larry, I DO have many of those New Years tapes; I'll look in the vault.

I do have a wonderful tape that I made at the Vanguard with almost the same line up from 1980. It's the same band as "Stepping Stones" except Ronnie Matthews is on piano.

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I pulled what I have out of the tapes but what I have is not that but besides the above:

A live outdoor concert (about 20 min.) with Ray Abrams - Piano, Buster Williams - Bass and Victor Lewis -Drums; from NPR.

A workshop from Pittsburg with Shaw, Kenny Clarke, Dexter and Nathan Davis; also from NPR.

Also, something I mentioned once before , a tape I made of Woody sitting in with Elvin at the Vanguard.

A personal story: once, when I was a photographer, I spent a week at a workshop taking photos. The clinicians were Woody, Ed Soph, Rufus Reid, John McNeil and Harry Leahy and others. It was a Jamie Ambersold Clinic that went on for five days during the Summer. I had a good time getting to know everyone including the star pupil, 16 year old Branford Marsalis. I still have the photos. Branford has a HUGE Fro!

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Just found this interview with Steve Turre I hadn't seen before that contains some Woody stories I found pretty interesting:

RH: Right, so you can really blend with the strings and not overpower. Your relationship with Woody was a particularly close one.

ST: Definitely. It was more than just a gig. In fact, it was a deep friendship as well as a mentor relationship. Woody did such wonderful things for me in terms of giving me direction and the confidence to go on and be myself. For instance, I remember one time we were on this big concert in Long Island with Dexter Gordon and Woody Shaw. I guess the gig paid a little bit more, so he said "Steve, come on and make the gig. We're going to do a sextet." I had a car, so I picked up Carter Jefferson and Woody. We were driving out to the gig and Woody and Carter got in a big argument on the way to the gig. We stopped at the stoplight and Carter just opened the door and walked off. Woody looked at me and said, "Well, Steve, play your tail off tonight, and you got the gig." I felt like I really had to struggle at first though, because I had to play the saxophone book, and come up a level to match what Woody was doing. His articulation was so crystal clear, and he had his own way of doing it too. He was an innovator. One time at the Village Vanguard when Mulgrew Miller was taking his solo, Woody came over and whispered in my ear saying, "Man, remember that stuff you played coming out of the second chorus on the bridge." Woody had a photographic memory. He sung the phrase back to me which astounded me right there. He sung back what I played, and I thought I was messing up. I was struggling, trying to get out of a corner I had gotten in my improvisation. I said, "Oh, that was a mess Woody." He said, "No, that was you, and I loved it . . . keep doing that. Remember that kind of approach and develop it." So, he gave me the confidence to go on and be myself.

Here's the link:

http://www.wbgo.org/library/interviews/sturre.asp

Edited by johnagrandy

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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.

" Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard" is currently due out on Columbia/Legacy on 7/26.

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587591.jpg

Woody ShawWoody Shaw Live, Volume Four (HighNote 7139) Apr 26

— Woody Shaw (trumpet); Steve Turre (trombone); Larry Willis (piano); Stafford James (double bass); Victor Lewis (drums); recorded live at Keystone Korner, San Francisco, Fall 1981

Nice.

Edited by alankin

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Woody Shaw Live, Volume Four (Uptown Records 2751) Apr 26

actually, it's on the HighNote label, not Uptown. B-)

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I'm so glad that someone hipped me to this thread. I've learned so much just reading the dialog between everyone.

I'm an adult beginning trumpet player of 5 years. One thing that has improved my playing more than anything is listening. Constantly. Over the past few months I've been listening to a lot of Woody Shaw. The man never ceases to amaze and teach me. While I can't tell you technically or in theory what he is doing, my ears tell me that it is all wonderful. In the short time that I’ve been getting into him he has quickly risen to the top of my all time favorite list. He was a master of his instrument, a master of the language and an amazingly creative composer.

The first CD that I purchased with Woody Shaw was Unity. My Favorite track? Moontrane. Later a friend of mine suggested I check out Little Red’s Fantasy. That really got the ball rolling and I’ve been buying anything with his name on it ever since. I purchased all the Live CDs 1-4 and I have to agree with everyone here… it is a feast for the ears and soul. My favorite of them all is Vol 3 – The ballad paced Little Red and Organ Grinder get frequent playing time. I also love his work with Horace Silver including Cape Verdean Blues and the diamond in the rough – The Jody Grind. Also be sure to scoop up the Mal Waldron Live at the Village Vanguard DVD. I love Woody’s playing on “All Alone.”

It is great to hear others sound off about Woody Shaw. He is one of the most underrated players in jazz. As a trumpet player he had few equals in my opinion. He could blister through an up tempo number and then bring you to tears in a ballad. His combination of technique and creativity continues to blow me away and expands my mind to what is possible.

The new website is fantastic. Be sure to pick up your Woody Shaw t-shirts! I’ve got 2.

:D

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Ok, here I go with the first installment of an (ill-advised ?) topic that will probably prove completely impossible for myself to understand ... (as I am essentially a non-musician) ...

Music-theory-wise , what was Woody doing that made him sound so different from anyone else, on any instrument, ever ?

From Jeff Hegelsen :

Mark Levine's "Jazz Theory" book has several excellent examples of Woody's approach.

To my ear, Woody's inside/outside approach was to construct melodic nodes that were inherently opaque -- lots of implied fourths/fifths combinations, often clustered down into playable constructs on trumpet -- and then sideslip into different key areas, and back again.

Because he could execute so quickly, and because most listeners' ears just can't lock in on a key area quickly based on the lines he'd play, he'd rip off a lick and you just kind of shake your head and go...holy cow, what the *** was that??!

Transcribing his solos is *hard*. Normally I transcribe at full speed, but when I'm taking off Woody's stuff, I have to slow it way down, especially if it's something bashy where he's got one chord for eight bars and has alot of room to range harmonically.

Here is the Woody tribute page on Jeff's site:

http://www.shout.net/~jmh/shaw/

Edited by johnagrandy

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Ok, installment two was going to be a very interesting quote by Steve Turre regarding exactly what Woody was doing that made his sound so unique ... but I can't find it anymore (damnit !)

But here's another Turre quote on Woody that I think people will find quite interesting:

FJ: How about that Woody Shaw?

STEVE TURRE: Oh, man. I'm going to stick my neck out a little bit here, Fred. Some of my best friends have played on my records and I do love them and respect them, but I will have to say that I don't feel that I have heard any innovators on a trumpet since Woody Shaw. Now, there is a difference between being an innovator and a master, even a grandmaster. That means you master your instrument and you've mastered the music. An innovator is somebody that's created a new language. Woody has his own language. I haven't heard any innovators on the instrument since Woody Shaw. The history will tell. Obviously, somebody will come along , but as of now, for my ears, I haven't heard any innovators.

Quoted from:

http://www.jazzweekly.com/interviews/turre

Edited by johnagrandy

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Here is a short except from an interview with Anthony Braxton in which he talks about the origins of the current "neo-classic jazz movement" -- which has always seemed to me to pretend that jazz in the 60s and 70s didn't exist.

I find this to be fascinating because I see Woody's replacement with Wynton at Columbia to be the best historical timepost of this sea change in American jazz culture.

Braxton's grammar is a little difficult to understand because the interview was done by a Turk who then transcribed it directly from the tape recorder with no editing. (Nothing against Turks !)

If you want to read the entire interview ... well, you might want to grab yourself a cold beer first. Remember, it's Anthony Braxton talking -- the guy who names his tunes with formulas most math post-docs can't understand.

Terzioglu - with Wynton Marsalis

Braxton - with Wynton Marsalis, many of the younger African American who were come up who went to the university. This is interesting. Wynton with classical people and the jazz people as well as his father. Then he went to New York and studied at Juilliard and while he was studying, it was obvious that he was talented as a stylist, technician at CBS records Doctor Frank Butler, an African American who became an A and R man at Columbia...

Terzioglu - A and R man? what is that?

Braxton - This is the man who makes the decisions about what musicians they are going to record.

Terzioglu - OK

Braxton - and so they chose Wynton Marsalis, they kicked out Woody Shaw.

Terzioglu - I see, a new commodity has arrived

Braxton - A new commodity, not only had a new commodity arrived, but a new commodity whose understanding of reality was just like the market place, in terms of jazz is jazz and everything else is different, we just want to play jazz, we gonna play jazz just like Charlie Parker starting from 1945 and ending for around 1963 with Miles Davis group with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock. This group in effect would say this. African American culture starts at New Orleans and ends at 1963 and restarts again at 1980 and goes forth and from 1960 to 1980, this is not jazz, this is not black, it is anti jazz (laughter). Political implications of that position is profound because it is taken for granted that every other group can learn from any group it was (wants?) to learn from. But the market place is the same. No, no, no! African Americans start here, stop here and you can not go outside of that. So if that is true, the jazz is dead. Jazz is like European classical music from Monteverdi stopping at maybe Wagner. Wagner gets kind of complex, but certainly Mahler and, but of course we know that Europeans continue to evolve their music post Schumann, post Wagner, and went into the modern era. But it is always ironic that everyone is doing this. The market place says "No, African Americans stays right there". And so connected with the same subject is a profound split in the African American community itself. A split that says in one hand you must play the Blues, you must play Bebop, you must think like Malcolm X, not DU BOIS but the 60's writers many of the African American nationalists like Amiri Baraka who came to the fore 1960's. It have an alliance with Joe Hammond and Columbia records when they say, "No, no, no", black must be here and then on the other side you have an African American middle class and upper class that has sent his sons and daughters to the University, they come out as professionals and they are not interested in Blues, they are not interested in jazz, but maybe now, they might like the new neo classic jazz. They wear suits and for this group when they see the Art Ensemble of Chicago, they say "they are painting up and they are playing this African music, I don't like it". And so suddenly you see the Black Community divided into many different sections fighting with another and that is here and then on top of that the composite market place which controls all of the information. It is very interesting.

http://www.restructures.net/links/BraxtonConversation.htm

Edited by johnagrandy

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How's that album "Rosewood" on Columbia? With all the Shaw in my collection, for some reason I never picked this one up. :blink:

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Math post-docs can't understand Braxton's song titles because they're not math.

Bertrand.

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How's that album "Rosewood" on Columbia?  With all the Shaw in my collection, for some reason I never picked this one up.  :blink:

I think Rosewood is a great record, you should check it out.

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Math post-docs can't understand Braxton's song titles because they're not math.

Bertrand.

And then Braxton mixes the Butlers:

Braxton - with Wynton Marsalis, many of the younger African American who were come up who went to the university. This is interesting. Wynton with classical people and the jazz people as well as his father. Then he went to New York and studied at Juilliard and while he was studying, it was obvious that he was talented as a stylist, technician at CBS records Doctor Frank Butler, an African American who became an A and R man at Columbia...

Frank Butler had nothing to do with this. Suppose Braxton meant GEORGE Butler!

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My one opportunity to see Woody came in 1984, at the Caravan of Dreams, where he appeared with Steve Turre as his frontline partner. Hence, I've always been partial to the then recently issued Lotus Flower, on Enja.

Another favorite is Bobby Hutherson's Live at Montreux, which is an amazing performance by Hutcherson and Shaw. However, I'm noticing on Amazon.com that this one may be out of print, as the only copy for sale is for $85.

Woody can be seen on DVD already--Mal Waldron Live at the Village Vanguard (with Charlie Rouse, Reggie Workman and Ed Blackwell).

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Just wondering ... does anyone here view what cats like Josh Roseman, Charlie Hunter, Stanton Moore, Skerik, John Ellis, Steve Bernstein, Sco (when he gets in that groove), and whole lot of other names, etc. are currently doing as possibly being the beginnings of a long-term trend that ultimately makes irrelevant the reconstructionalist motivations (and current success) of the neo-classic jazz movement ....

To be sure, the music of this camp is not intended to be purely serious in nature, in many ways it's meant to mix a party and dance element with the social conscious and "deeper meaning" elements of great jazz music -- but , hey, that's what Lee did for a few years -- with some pretty good success !

To me, it's kind of like these cats are saying "f*** this whole Wynton controversy -- forget about it" ... I'm going to listen to Lee, and Larry Young, and Wes, and Miles, and McCoy and Trane ... but I'm also going to listen to a lot of blues, R & B, funk, soul, and even some rock (Nirvana), roots, and all sorts of other lesser-known genres, and try to put it all together in a funky groove where the underlying message still includes what serious jazz is all about -- but we're not going to stick to jazz per se because that's not where the youth counter-culture is at. It's a practical approach to bringing jazz to those who perhaps need it the most in their lives, during their formative years.

And all of these cats can play serious jazz when they want. No question.

Maybe it's kind of what Michael Franti was about back in his early days -- but I think he was just way too early.

What does this have to do with Woody Shaw ?

Well, as I've said previously, I think a generational change in how jazz is currently viewed has to happen for Woody's music to be appreciated. The small-club "direct audience communication and participation" is what's sadly missing from a lot of today's technical-prowess-driven, sterile, overpriced, over-orchestrated, derivative -- even pompous -- display-case renditions of the jazz of other ages.

Wood's music is very serious to be sure, and certainly not in a party groove, but think about the very direct way in which he (and other hard-bop masters) communicated with the audience. There was immediate emotional participation, not detached appreciation, observation, analysis ....

It's all about speaking directly to the people in a way that they go home feeling better about themselves and their lives. Really better, in a serious way (not just 'cause they're drunk or wasted or whatever).

By the way, in case anyone has jumped to the conclusion that the "jam band jazz" genre is a revival of "jazz fusion", believe me it isn't. The evolution of Charlie Hunter is the evolution of a very knowledgeable jazz musician steeped in historical tradition, who just does not choose to play straight-ahead jazz most of the time. Check it out for yourself ... buy a just a few of the best of this genre of albums ...

Edited by johnagrandy

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just finding this thread late...

I love Woody Shaw's gorgeous recording with strings of "We'll Be Together Again."

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Interestingly enough, pages at amazon, oldies.com, J&R Music World also show that seventh (supposedly missing in earlier reports) tracks.

Here's hoping!

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"Theme For Maxine" and "Little Red's Fantasy" were both written for Woody's wife and manager at Columbia, Maxine Gregg. "Theme For Maxine" is on the original "Stepping Stones" LP.

Whether the former will show up on the "Stepping Stones" CD ... I could be wrong, but initially I heard that it will not.

However, the CDUniverse website does list it as one of the tracks (albeit misspelled) ...... ???

The sound work on this live date(s) is superlative, so hopefully everything that was recorded on that night(s) will eventually make it into high quality form (CDs, MP3s, etc.). Not holding my breath -- but anything is possible !

I've read some reasons why T4M might have not been chosen to be included, but that's really that's not for me to comment on. If you do some digging on this and other jazz forums you can find some info on this topic written by others.

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