When you see or hear the work of amazing artists – those who have garnered acclaim from audiences, their peers and the cognoscenti that herald them – it can be hard to believe there is room or for that matter, desire to grow. Perhaps that is what makes a talented individual great. To harness a passion to pursue and to be humble enough to acknowledge that there is more to learn, more to explore and that there’s no ceiling on getting better seems to be a common characteristic of those who rise to renown and reverence.
It’s clear saxophonist Jaleel Shaw fits that mold. The accomplished musician has been soaking up knowledge from influences and mentors alike since a kid coming up in the talent factory that is Philly, PA. Over the years the formula of passion plus a thirst of knowledge and a desire to truly move people with his gift has hoisted him into the category of great players garnering amongst other distinctions, a Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll Award and being listed in JazzTimes Magazine’s Readers Poll for Alto Saxophonist of the Year.
It’s also made him a sought-after musician prompting work as a long-time member of the Roy Haynes Quartet, and performing with luminaries such as Christian McBride (when they were kids in Philly and older), Nate Smith’s Kinfolk, Jason Moran, the Mingus Big Band, Pat Metheny, Roy Hargrove, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jimmy Cobb and many, many others. He even earned a nickname from the legendary Jimmy Heath, which is confirmation in and of itself that a musician has arrived. The one fittingly given to Shaw? “For Real.”
When the shutdown and challenges of 2020 came knocking at our doors for Jaleel Shaw, like the rest of us all, even with the accolades, well- earned respect and his tremendous ability, it unearthed an anxiety – Not knowing what the future would hold, how he’d handle it and who is the person he’d be on the side of it. But what kicked in for Shaw was the astute recognition that in this time was opportunity to learn more about himself. Something that would result in him being more. It was the kind of self-assessment that has made him the consummate player he is today. In the video interview done via Zoom, Jaleel Shaw offers great insight and candid observations that will inspire artists and non-artists alike. Check it out below. BC
For more about saxophonist Jaleel Shaw go to jaleelshaw.com
To stream and/or purchase the music you heard in the video interview and more go to /https://jaleelshaw.bandcamp.com/ or all other major music platforms.
And check out his Livestream performance with full band direct from The Jazz Gallery in NYC tomorrow October, 15th, two sets at 7:30 & 9:30. For more information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.jazzgallery.org/calendar/livestream-jaleel-shaw