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Woody Shaw/Louis Hayes: The Tour – Volume One

Of the great trumpet innovators, Woody Shaw and Booker Little are the two most in danger of being forgotten. Little’s obscurity can be attributed to his early death at 23. Shaw’s case is more complicated. He died at 44, in 1989, after a difficult life. His period of peak creativity was brief, and came in the late 1970s, when the infrastructure supporting acoustic jazz was crumbling.

Shaw’s language incorporated pentatonic scale and fourth interval concepts associated with certain saxophonists (e.g., John Coltrane), not trumpet players. Those intervals, those fearless leaps, and their concomitant adrenaline rushes, are all over The Tour. It comes from a concert in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1976. Shaw plays with such sublime fury you wonder if he was having the night of his life. Apparently not. Producer Michael Cuscuna, a Shaw expert, has said he heard him “at least 200 nights on four different continents” and “never heard him play badly.”

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