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The Moontrane

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Muse
  • ASIN: B000026ED3
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 937,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Moontrane
2. Sanyas
3. Tapscott's Blues
4. Katrina Ballerina
5. Are They Only Dreams
6. Tapscott's Blues (Alt.)
7. Katrina Ballerina (Alt.)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Nov. 2014
Format: Audio CD
This impressive album by the underrated trumpeter Woody Shaw(1944-1989) was originally recorded for MUSE in New York on December 11 & 18, 1974 with a collective personnel of Shaw(trumpet); Azar Lawrence(tenor & soprano sax); Steve Turre(trombone); Onaje Allen Gumbs(piano, electric piano); Buster Williams or Cecil McBee(bass); Victor Lewis(drums); Tony Waters(congas) & Guilherme Franco(percussion).
The seven memorable tracks(including 2 alternative takes) feature originals from Shaw, Lawrence & Turre. Highlights include Shaw's haunting 'The Moontrane' and Lawrence's 'Tapscott Blues' written for pianist Horace Tapscott.
The inventive and passionate music on 'The Moontrane' deserves a place in any modern jazz collection.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having spent quite a lot of money buying this album as a US import from Elite Digital, I am sorry to say it is not quite as good as 'Woody plays Woody' or his live albums recorded at Keystone Korner.
This is purely due to the space he gives to the bass player who is not to my taste.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
One of Woody's best 21 Mar. 2001
By Tyler Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Woody Shaw had a comparative lifetime of jazz playing and recording under his belt at the time of this '74 release, but he was still a chronologically a young man. It's his experience that shows on this great recording, once again rescued from obscurity by Joel Dorn and 32 Records.
The title track was one of Shaw's best compositions, frequently played, most notably with Bobby Hutcherson at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, which was captured by Blue Note but currently consigned to the dust bin. In any event, Woody and company perform the tune beautifully here. "Moontrane" sets the tone for the rest of the set. It shows off Woody's expansive compositional sound, showing that a quintet can muster plenty of body into its attack.
"Sanyos," the set's most extended composition, again shows that Woody could play with space but still find a groove. On this tune and "Tapscott's Blues" and "Katrina Ballerina," the band expands to a septet with the addition of percussion from Tony Waters and Guillherme Franco.
Azar Lawrence, on sax, and Onjae Allen Gumbs, on piano, both contribute significantly to the Eastern flavor of the set. Lawrence had played with McCoy Tyner, a master at spicing his compositions with African and Indian influences. He unfortunately seemed to vanish from the scene sometime during the mid-70s. Gumbs' rhythmic patterns fit in well here, adding a layer to strong base provided by Buster Williams and Cecil McBee on bass and Victor Lewis on drums.
Shaw's superbly conceived solos reflect his mastery of his own compositions. His tone was clear, his ideas fully formed and his compositional framework invited his bandmates to explore the space he provided them. "Moontrane" opens up vistas for the listener and provides compelling evidence that Woody Shaw was one of jazz's great voices.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Yes, they are dreams 1 Aug. 2009
By Charles J. Greenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I always become emotional when I hear the cut "Are they only dreams?" from this classic album. I saw Woody Shaw live maybe five or six times, around the time "Master of the Art" was recorded live at the Jazz Forum. The gift he will be remembered for, IMHO, is his gift for composition. The Moontrane is a fine anthology of original compositions with a working group that delivers a strong, consistent rhythm..
7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
woody shaw's best band 7 Nov. 2000
By Joseph Creed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album (the one released by 32 Jazz, not the one with his photo holding the trumpet) for the album cover. It was a painting by Oliver Wasow, the photographer, one of his only eight wall-size paintings. The painting was like the scene from an early-morning dream. You could feel the bitter cold and hear the sound of the Sanyas (or so I thought was the name of those odd-head-shaped birds in migration, one of which was flying the other way!) When I listened to the album, (I am a jazz lover and collector), I was spellbound by Woody's bright-toned, unapologetically-jagged playing. His playing is best backed up by odd harmony and in this album he is complemented by the only pianist I see who complements him best. The way they play straightahead jazz is the best I've heard. Onaje Allan Gumbs, who unfortunately wasn't a straightahead purist, comped like no one else. (He is even more odd-harmonied than Billy Childs, my favorite comper who played for Freddie Hubbard) He didn't use the standard comping you would ordinarily hear. He struck his odd-harmony voicings in odd places and was never (at any time!) predictable, even rythm-wise. His chords would suddenly descend or ascend one after the other in a beat. And he was sure of what he was doing because he comped powerfully. I was disappointed to learn that they never released more than two or three albums together, the other two being not really straight small-ensemble straightahead ones. Just try to compare Arturo Sandoval's version of Moontrane on Swingin' (with Joey Calderrazo - Branford Marsalis' present pianist) and you'll see how different a pianist he was (in fact, I think he's even better than Hancock or Kirkland - my favorites as well) Listen, and you'll see what I mean!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
perhaps the greatest studio jazz recording 22 July 2005
By John A. Grandy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Moontrane is one of the masterworks of the incomparable genius of modern jazz, the ultimately indescribable Woody Shaw.

This communication tackles, with a ferocious spirit, the challenge of communication at the deepest level of understanding of the human condition -- which for a great many on the planet consists primarily of an exhaustingly difficult and never-ending search for togetherness in the face of tremendous hardship.

Just 29 or 30 year of age at the time of this recording, Wood had somehow developed not just an instantly recognizable sound but also a unique melodic, harmononic, and percussive style. As it happened, the instrument of choice was the trumpet, but it could have been any. As the great Steve Turre so succinctly puts it: Woody invented his own musical language.

But I am sure that Woody set about and achieved this near-impossible task for most because without these tools he could not have moved towards his true goal: a communication of complex positive energy that offers very powerful *solutions* to life's challenges to those lucky enough to hear and understand what the man had to say.

I said indescribable at the outset because there is no real way to describe Woody's music in words. What can I do?

I know what inspired Wood to compose each of his pieces on this album, but these matters are well-documented elsewhere, and communication of specific contexts and life-experiences of the musician is not the primary purpose of music at this stratospheric level.

Truly great music communicates, in many ways and forms, energy and ideas needed to inspire one to live life as they individually know it must be lived.

Perhaps Sanyas is the mystery and fear ever present in the natural world and those who live by their instincts, not by their wits, but nevertheless experience many of the same powerful primal emotions as humans.

Or perhaps it is the answer to the question. What question? What answer? Those are the questions.

Perhaps Katrina Ballerina is a father watching his daughter first finding the beauty of herself and her femininity in dance.

Or perhaps it is the beauty of a woman to a man: the beauty of a true woman, one whose empathy, goodness, and harmony with the universe creates love.

Perhaps Tapscott's Blues is Eddy Mercx on his way to setting the cycling hour record in 1972, after which he reportedly could not sit down for four days.

Or perhaps it is being black in America in 1974.

Or perhaps it one of the many unknown and anonymous among us who already know our destinies but nonetheless achieve the peak of our abilities, spirit, belief system, and courage, for a short while, even if for only a few minutes, and seeing our own mortality we are not afraid -- because, if only fleetingly, we are truly alive.
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
bop with fire 26 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
woody shaw's fire and technique, a la lee morgan, donald byrd and freddie hubbard, are up there with the best. if you like straight ahead bop with energy and fire, but not too free and noisy, give mr. shaw a serious listen
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