Balancing the past with the future, Shaw sought to honor his bebop roots, while embracing the avant-garde. His debut as a leader, Blackstone Legacy, embodied that stylistic bridge. Recorded in December 1970 and released the following year on Contemporary Records, the album featured some of the era’s most exciting talents, including funk-jazz icon Gary Bartz (alto and soprano saxophone), veteran bassist Ron Carter and fusion pioneer Lenny White (drums), plus such innovators as Bernie Maupin (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet) and Clint Houston (electric bass), as well as the esteemed keyboardist George Cables, whose work as a composer is also highlighted on two of the LP’s tracks (“Think On Me” and “New World”).

The six tracks on Blackstone Legacy are expansive, allowing each of the musicians to embark on heady, improvisational journeys. The album opens with the dynamic, 16-minute-long title track, during which Shaw shines as a leader, as he confidently guides the septet through the energetic composition. Another highlight is the free-bop “Lost and Found,” which boasts several impressive drum solos by White, as well as the joyful “Boo-Ann’s Grand” (dedicated to Shaw’s wife, Betty Ann). The Cables-penned “New World,” meanwhile, offers phenomenally funky interplay—particularly between the electric pianist and Houston, who delivers plenty of groovy wah-wahs on the bass. The record closes on a reflective note, with a tribute to Shaw’s late mentor, “A Deed for Dolphy.”

Woody Shaw – Blackstone Legacy

Release Date:
September 15, 2023

Side A

Blackstone Legacy

Side B

Think On Me
Lost And Found

Side C

New World

Side D

Boo-Ann’s Grand
A Deed For Dolphy


Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Gary Bartz
Bass – Ron Carter (tracks: B1 to D2)
Co-producer [Associate Producer] – John Koenig
Cover, Design – George Kershaw
Drums – Lenny White
Electric Bass – Clint Houston (tracks: A, B1, C to D2)
Lacquer Cut By – Bernie Grundman
Liner Notes – Nat HentoffWoody Shaw
Music By – George Cables (tracks: B1, C), Woody Shaw (tracks: A, B2, D1, D2)
Photography By – Charles Stewart*Price Givens
Piano, Electric Piano – George Cables
Producer – Lester Koenig
Recorded By – Don Hahn
Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute – Bennie Maupin
Trumpet – Woody Shaw