Monday, September 15, 2008

Woody Shaw's first triumph

The name on the front cover (brilliantly conceived by my graphic-design hero, REID MILES) says "LARRY YOUNG," but it often seems the real star of the 1965 jazz album, "UNITY," was the trumpeter sideman, WOODY SHAW.
I am listening to "Unity" during a rather downcast day -- both the economy and the weather are a little worse than expected.
Shaw always shines on this album, however, especially on his compositions, "Zoltan," "The Moontrane" and "Beyond All Limits."
Shaw was only 20 at the time, and would eventually become a solo act.
The story surrounding Shaw is ultimately unlucky. He began to come to prominence when jazz-rock fusion triumphed over the acoustic, traditional jazz Shaw played.
His life ended tragically in 1989, when he lost an arm in a subway station accident in Brooklyn. Several months later, he had died from kidney failure.
Shaw basks in glory on "Unity," though, as I am hearing today.


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