Woody Shaw… you beautiful dude

Woody Shaw never ceases to torment my thoughts.

He’s an enigmatic player, who changed the way the trumpet can be played. I’m always interested in his solos, but because of his complex, angular style, I tend to get over whelmed, throw my hands up in the air, and cry out in pain.

Here’s the deal:

I’m drawn to Woody’s individualistic approach and attitude, his creative sensibility, and his take no prisoners energy. But, I don’t play like him. Shit, I don’t even hear music the way he does. I often call Woody’s style “Space Music.” Woody has been known to mention his application to improvisation based on the stylings of John Coltrane. Especially the execution of extreme intervallic movement and expansion of harmony. This, in short, creates large leaps that seem almost impossible on the trumpet. Not only do you need to have a strong theoretical understanding, you have to have the chops in order to do it.

So like most trumpet players, I tend to relate to Freddie Hubbard’s equally original, yet far more linear style to playing the trumpet.

I don’t know why it seems like you have to to devote to one style or the other, but I find myself conflicted with how much of each I should try to incorporate into my own playing. It’s puzzling when you think about, what little pieces of a player’s style you incorporate into your own.

In the mean time, I’m just going to turn the volume to 11, and enjoy this cat’s beautiful work.


Miles once said, “Everybody’s a thief.”


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