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Woody Shaw (32 Jazz: Imagination

C. Michael Bailey By

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Let Me Reintroduce.... Woody Shaw (1944 – 1989) was a popular yet never fully appreciated trumpeter during the 1970s and 80s. Largely influenced by Freddie Hubbard, Shaw is considered by jazz musicologists to be a bridge between Hard Bop and Avant-garde trumpet playing. He played and recorded with Eric Dolphy, Horace Silver, Dexter Gordon, Andrew Hill, and Jackie McLean. In spite of this exposure, he was overshadowed by other period trumpeters. This is unfortunate, because Shaw is a very exciting and imaginative soloist well worth investigation.

Imagination is a re-release of the Muse recording of the same name. It is made up of five standards and a single original (penned by trombonist Steve Turre). The disc begins with explosive start with “If I Were a Bell”, using the famous Big Ben intro. Shaw starts with an open bell and takes the standard a faster clip that Miles originally did, showing much more muscle. Even is muted playing is powerful, infusing the familiar trumpet vehicle with a naked virility that might surprise the listener. Compare this to Bobby Timmons’ “Dat Dere”, here Shaw plays less aggressively but equally effectively. So with the remainder of the disc. Shaw’s Ballad playing is plush yet exact on “Imagination” and “Stormy Weather”. Steve Turre is outstanding in all outings. The rhythm section of Lightsey, Drummond and Allen speak for themselves.

Budget Cut. Joel Dorn’s 32 Jazz continues its re-releases of Muse recordings with this warm and pleasurable Woody Shaw Disc. This is music not to ignore. Other Shaw re-releases on 32 Jazz include The Moontrane (32019), Last of the Line (32024) [ Cassandranite and Love Dance on Muse], Dark Journey (32039), Two More Pieces of the Puzzle (32069) [ The Woody Shaw Concert Ensemble and The Iron Men on Muse]. The label’s modest price makes these recordings attractive.


Track Listing: If I Were a Bell, Imagination; Dat Dere; You and the Night and the Music; Stormy Weather; Steve

Personnel: Woody Shaw: Trumpet; Kirk Lightsey: Piano; Steve Turre: Trombone; Ray Drummond: Bass; Carl Allen: Drums.

Title: Imagination | Year Released: 1999


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