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Crate Digger’s Gold – Woody Shaw – Stepping Stones – Live at the Village Vanguard

May 5, 2013

woody shaw stepOne of the great jazz album’s of my youth was Woody Shaw’s Rosewood (1978).  The cherry on the top was that I got to see an intimate show at the University of Minnesota’s Whole Coffee House of the tour that supported that album.  This album captures that tour at the legendary Village Vanguard.

Woody was a phenomenal trumpet player but an even better composer.  Three of his compositions grace Larry Young’s jazz classic Unity.  Woody had a highly sophisticated sense of melody – almost every one of his compositions feels like a standard – and many are.

The late 70s were a heady time for jazz – the labels were flush with cash and labels like Columbia spared no expense to record and support their artists.  The fact that there was a small audience was meaninglessness.  Woody was signed to Columbia based on the endorsement of Miles Davis – it does not get much better than that.

Most of the songs on this album are from the Rosewood album and Woody had a superb band (see correction in the comment below – most are not from that album, but the personnel is the same giving it a very similar feel to Rosewood).  This LP captures them at the height of their powers.  Woody’s tone is breath-taking.  The remote recording is exquisite.  This is straight ahead hard bop that flipped the bird to the jazz rock and emerging light jazz of the period.  It would set the foundation for the young lion movement that would follow a few years later.  This is the jazz that I first discovered at 18 years old and stole my musical heart forever.

  1. Anonymous permalink

    Nice post. Correction: Only one song on this album was also on Rosewood – “The for Maxine.”

    • You are correct only one song on this album was also on Rosewood – “Theme for Maxine” – The album has such a strong similar feel to Rosewood (which sadly I have not listend to for years) that I just assumed – need to check my facts better with a faily memory.

  2. Anonymous permalink

    You might be interested in this new Woody Shaw Muse Boxed Set.

  3. I think i’ll go listen to ‘Unity’ right now.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Audio by Van Alstine – Fet Valve Phono Section (Prototype) | Axl's Catch Groove
  2. Catchgroove’s Hall of Fame: Woody Shaw – Rosewood | Axl's Catch Groove

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