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Woody Shaw - Rosewood

Michael Cuscuna – executive producer from CBS Records - hired Woody Shaw in 1977. Someone thought that Miles Davis in person " sponsored " Shaw to the board of Columbia. Anyway this partnership would have made a larger audience aware of Shaw's huge talent.

The album Rosewood – dedicated to the Shaw's parents - was a real masterpiece even considering the 14 elements orchestra that Shaw could gather leveraging the budget that Cuscuna allocated specifically to support this project.

The brass and wood section played arrangements written by the same Shaw that gained after this recording a great reputation as a composer-arranger and bandleader. The whole recording is a unique and extraordinary example of perfect blend between modal music, soul, straight-ahead jazz and even rock elements. Compared to the breakdown record Blackstone Legacy is more advanced musically and harmonically

The compositions are beautiful and extremely well interpreted by very inspired improviser: Joe Henderson - backing again Shaw to retrieve the stellar lineup performing throughout most of the 60's and 70's – is just devastating on the opening Latin-jazz tune Rosewood followed by a spectacular Shaw's solo on trumpet. The tempo on Rosewood is very fast, and Woody's articulation and speed of fingers is astounding, particularly on the semiquaver passages. A fast tongue is essential to playing the wider intervallic leaps employed by Woody, and Woody has developed his tonguing ability to outstanding levels.

Soul music influenced Shaw as well as many other jazz musicians, making the sound of the band more appealing for a non-jazz audience too. The orchestra led by the woodwind section introduces the soulful theme Every Time I See You colored by the sweet chords of the Fender Rhodes Piano by Onaje Allan Gumbs.

The Legend of the Cheops by drummer Victor is in a B major. Woody' solo is again very fluent and expressive. Saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk was tributed by the beautiful blues Rahsaan's Run - Shaw suffered from retinitis pigmentosa and Kirk used to grasp Woody's arm and walk around downtown San Francisco despite his complete blindness.

This is the most straight-ahead number on the album, an extremely fast blues based on suspended chords in the manner of Miles Davis's Eighty One.

The intro of Sunshowers recalls Miles Davis's In a Silent Way to becoming a fast swing performed by Carter Jefferson on tenor saxophone.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Woody Shaw
  • CD Title: Rosewood
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Reissue Original Release: 1978
  • Record Label: Columbia Records
  • Tracks: Rosewood; Every Time I see You; The Legend Of The Cheops; Rahsaan's Run; Sunshowers; Theme For Maxine; Isabel The Liberator; Joshua C.; Why?
  • Musicians: Woody Shaw (trumpet, flugelhorn); Carter Jefferson (soprano & tenor saxophones); Gary Bartz (alto saxophone); Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone); Steve Turre, Curtis Fuller (trombone, bass trombone); James Spaulding (flute); Larry Willis, Onaje Allen Gumbs (piano); Clint Houston, Stafford James (bass); Victor Lewis (drums); Sammy Figueroa (congas); Nana Vasconcelos (percussion)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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