Woody Shaw: The Complete Muse Sessions
By Alan Goodman
Lester Bowie of the Art Ensemble of Chicago has said, “I think of Woody as one of the great neglected talents of this century.” And no less an authority and critic than Miles Davis said, “There’s a great trumpet player… He can play different from all of them.”
The Set That Could Make Woody Shaw
Your Favorite Trumpeter In Jazz
We are delighted to have a second opportunity to print the name “Woody Shaw” across a Mosaic collection, this time for his Muse jazz recordings spanning nearly his entire creative life.
Included in the collection are the mid- to late-1970s recordings that established his musical identity, and saw him break through as an inspiring and influential musician and bandleader. Also included are the Muse sets from his return to the label from 1983 through 1987, where as a mature musician he displayed his range on the instrument and his appreciation for music of many jazz disciplines. The “Complete Muse” concept allows us also to present Woody’s very first set from 1965 when he was just 20 years old. Originally recorded for Blue Note but returned to Woody by Alfred Lion when the record company founder experienced remorse over selling his label, it became a Muse set years later.
He was denied fame more than once. Woody Shaw hit his prime when fusion was the rage and there was no cohesive jazz scene to support his career and recognize his innovations. A freak subway accident led to the kidney failure that claimed his life in 1989, far too early for his genius to be sufficiently appreciated by the public.
A Musicians’ Musician
But if fans of jazz music do not often mention his name, the players know and remember.
Frequent collaborator and friend, the saxophonist Gary Bartz, called him “the next step that began with Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden and King Oliver, followed by Dizzy, Roy Eldridge and Miles and then by Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown, and the next step was Woody.” Lester Bowie of the Art Ensemble of Chicago has said, “I think of Woody as one of the great neglected talents of this century.” Freddie Hubbard, the trumpeter with whom Woody is often too flippantly compared and who collaborated with him in the 1980s, simply said “Woody was bad.” And no less an authority and critic than Miles Davis said, “There’s a great trumpet player… He can play different from all of them.”
Evidence that his intelligence and curiosity would lead to great things started early.
Many Ways To Play
There were so many ways Woody Shaw could approach a tune. He would slip in and out of a modal approach and play within the chord. Or lay other key signatures on top of what the band was playing, resolving dissonance at just the right moment to make it all coherent.
A flawless attack and roundness of tone throughout the instrument’s register, top to bottom, are other hallmarks of his playing, and made his ballad work bell-like and passionate. Numbers that demanded a more hard bop interpretation got an urgent and driving propulsion from Woody’s ability to push out incredibly intricate runs at blinding speeds.
Woody Shaw provides one of the best examples in jazz history of someone who ceaselessly accepted the temptation jazz presents to approach with wonder and confidence, expecting danger — and triumphed over it. His success can be heard throughout the limited edition box set collection.
A student of great bandleaders, Woody Shaw became one himself, and these sessions provide ample evidence of that from three different eras. The earliest session, from his tenure as a Blue Note stable player, includes Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Paul Chambers and Joe Chambers. The 1970s sets include Steve Turre, Azar Lawrence, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Buster Williams, Victor Lewis, Cecil McBee, Rene McLean, Billy Harper, Joe Bonner, Frank Strozier, Ronnie Matthews, Stafford James, Eddie Moore, Frank Foster, Louis Hayes, Arthur Blythe, Anthony Braxton, and Muhal Richard Abrams, among others. In the 1980s, he played with Cedar Walton, Victor Jones, Kenny Garrett, Kenny Barron, and others.
Nine individual Muse albums are represented on our seven-CD limited edition box set. The collection includes many rare photographs from the time. The set was co-produced by Woody Shaw III, who has devoted his life to preserving the legacy of his father and that of his stepfather, Dexter Gordon. He also contributed the essay and track-by-track notes.
WOODY SHAW – THE COMPLETE MUSE SESSIONS
Only the original LP issues are indicated in this discography.
(A) Woody Shaw, tp; Joe Henderson, ts; Larry Young, p; Ron Carter, b; Joe Chambers, d.
Van Gelder Studio, December 1965
Cassandranite Muse MR 5298
(B) Woody Shaw, tp; Joe Henderson, ts; Herbie Hancock, p; Paul Chambers, b; Joe Chambers, d.
Van Gelder Studio, December 1965
Baloo, Baloo Muse MR 5298
Three Muses –
(C1) Woody Shaw, tp; Steve Turre, tb; Azar Lawrence, ts, ss; Onaje Allan Gumbs, p; Buster Williams, b; Victor Lewis, d.
Blue Rock Studios, NYC, December 11, 1974
The Moontrane Muse MR 5058
Are They Only Dreams –
(C2) Cecil McBee replaces Buster Williams, b; add Tony Waters, cgas; Guilherme Franco, perc.
Blue Rock Studios, NYC, December 18, 1974
Tapscott’s Blues Muse MR 5058
Katrina Ballerina –
Tapscott’s Blues (alt tk) Muse MCD 5472
Katrina Ballerina (alt tk) –
(D) Woody Shaw, tp; Steve Turre, tb, bass tb; Rene McLean, as, ss; Billy Harper, ts; Joe Bonner, p; Cecil McBee, b; Victor Lewis, d; Tony Waters, cgas; Guilherme Franco, perc.
Blue Rock Studios, NYC, November 1975
Love Dance Muse MR 5074
Sun Bath –
Soulfully I Love You (Black Spiritual Of Love) –
(E) Woody Shaw, tp; Frank Strozier, as; Ronnie Mathews, p; Stafford James, b; Eddie Moore, d.
Blue Rock Studios, NYC, June 29, 1976
Jean Marie Muse MR 5103
In Case You Haven’t Heard –
Little Red’s Fantasy –
Tomorrow’s Destiny –
(F) Woody Shaw, tp, perc; Slide Hampton, tb, perc; Rene McLean, as, fl, perc; Frank Foster, ts, perc; Ronnie Mathews, p; Stafford James, b; Louis Hayes, d.
Berlin Jazz Festival, November 6, 1976
Hello To The Wind Muse MR 5139
Sanyas previously unissued
Jean Marie Muse MR 5139
Bilad As Sudan (Land Of The Blacks) –
(G1) Woody Shaw, tp; Arthur Blythe -1, Anthony Braxton -2, as; Muhal Richard Abrams, p; Cecil McBee, b; Joe Chambers, d.
Blue Rock Studios, NYC, April 6, 1977
Iron Man -1 Muse MR 5160
Symmetry -2 ` –
(G2) Woody Shaw, cor-1, tp-2; Anthony Braxton, cl-1, ss-2, Arthur Blythe -2, as; Muhal Richard Abrams, p; Cecil McBee, b; Victor Lewis, d.
Blue Rock Studios, NYC, April 13, 1977
Jitterbug Waltz -1 Muse MR 5160
Song Of Songs -2 –
Same session: Woody Shaw, flgh; Muhal Richard Abrams, p; Cecil McBee, b.
Diversion One Muse MR 5160
Diversion Two –
(H) Woody Shaw, flgh -1, tp-2; Cedar Walton, p; Buster Williams, b; Victor Jones, d.
Van Gelder Studio, December 1, 1983
There Is No Greater Love -1 Muse MR 5318
All The Way -1 –
Spiderman Blues -2 –
The Touch Of Your Lips -1 –
What’s New -2 –
When Love Is New -1 –
(I) Woody Shaw, tp; Kenny Garrett -1, as; Peter Leitch -2, g; Kenny Barron, p; Neil Swanson, b; Victor Jones, d.
Van Gelder Studio, March 24, 1986
There Will Never Be Another You -1 Muse MR 5329
You Stepped Out Of A Dream –
Speak Low -1 –
Solid -1, -2 –
It Might As Well Be Spring –
The Woody Woodpecker Song –
(J) Woody Shaw, tp; Steve Turre, tb; Kirk Lightsey, p; Ray Drummond, b; Carl Allen, d.
Van Gelder Studio, June 24, 1987
If I Were A Bell Muse MR 5338
Dat Dere –
You And The Night And The Music –
Stormy Weather –
Steve’s Blues –
Muse MR 5058 The Moontrane
Muse MCD 5472 CD reissue of above
Muse MR 5074 Love Dance
Muse MR 5103 Little Red’s Fantasy
Muse MR 5139 Concert Ensemble At The Berliner Jazztage
Muse MR 5160 The Iron Men
Muse MR 5298 In The Beginning…
Muse MR 5318 Setting Standards
Muse MR 5329 Solid
Muse MR 5338 Imagination
Produced for release by Michael Cuscuna and Woody Shaw III
Original sessions produced by Michael Cuscuna (C-I) and Don Sickler (J)
Recording engineers: Eddie Korvin (C, D, G) Jan Rathburn (C, E), Michael Ewasko (E) Carlos Albrecht (F), Rudy Van Gelder (A-B, H-J).
Remix engineers if different from the original recording engineer: Malcolm Addey (C), Eddie Korvin (E, F), Elvin Campbell (G).
Note: On the session F, the first three tunes are derived from the German Radio Broadcast
of the event. The final two performances were recorded by Carlos Albrecht in Berlin and mixed
by Eddie Korvin in New York City
Remastered by Malcolm Addey at the Malcolm Addey Studio, New York City.