Woody Louis Armstrong Shaw III ’01, an independent artist, music producer, and scholar of jazz studies, has been awarded the prestigious 2014-2015 Hutchins Fellowship for his steadfast research on his father, trumpeter-composer Woody Shaw (1944-1989). Along with 22 other esteemed fellows, Shaw was granted a one-year appointment at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute housed at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
During the fellowship, Shaw III will finalize research for the completion of a biography and documentary on his late father, titled “Trumpet of Fire: The Life and Music of Woody Shaw.” Woody III began documenting his father’s work and music in 2001 and has since been largely responsible for the ongoing management, production, preservation, digitization, and overall public revival of Woody Shaw’s musical and artistic legacy.
Woody III has a B.F.A in jazz performance from the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program in New York City where he studied jazz percussion, theory and performance, as well as web design and development. Thereafter, Woody attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music graduate program in jazz studies where he served as associate instructor to chair and director of the program.
In 2007, Woody III was asked to join independent music label Mosaic Records as digital communications strategist and web producer. That same year, he was hired as senior consultant to the United Nations Department of Public Information’s Web Services Section where he worked until 2009. Developing his technological expertise while working for both Mosaic Records and the United Nations, during this time, Woody III also obtained professional certification in the field of Intellectual Property Law from New York University.
Woody III has produced events at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and the Jazz Standard in New York City and given public appearances and interviews with WBGO, WBAI, WCOM, and NPR radio. He has given public talks and presentations for such institutions as Columbus State University for the International Trumpet Guild 2012 Conference, BMCC and Harvard University.
Along with his work in arts legacy management and digital media, Shaw III has published various articles and essays on topics related to his family’s musical legacy, including “Who is Woody Shaw?” for the International Trumpet Guild Annual Journal. In 2012, he published a double feature for JazzJapan magazine on Dexter Gordon (his stepfather) and Woody Shaw titled “Memories of My Fathers.” Additionally he wrote an article for The International Jazz Archives Journal in 2010 titled “UNITY: The Inseparability of Life and Music – A Holistic View of Woody Shaw.”
Shaw III has a B.A. in ethnomusicology from Hobart College. While at Hobart, he studied abroad in Japan, India and in Vietnam at the Ha Noi Conservatory of Music focusing on cultural history, Eastern philosophy and the traditional music of each region.
Started in 1975 as the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, the Institute annually appoints scholars who conduct individual research for a period of one to two semesters in a wide variety of fields related to African and African American Studies. Along with Woody III’s biography, Hutchins fellows are pursuing projects including, a memoir of Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver; biographies of Mandela and Toussaint Louverture; DNA studies to re-consider the racial history of Cuba; hiphop in Senegal; the circulation of the black body in the global art economy; African American folktales; and the dramatic outcome of the Mau Mau torture trial in the British High Court. Fellows are participants in a range of activities of the Institute including colloquia, public conferences, lectures, readings, and workshops.