Preview: Breakfast With Bobby Shew

Yamaha Music London offers a morning in the company of the legendary trumpet player, who'll be talking about his career and playing with pianist Gareth Williams

Jazz trumpet player Bobby Shew (pictured right) will be at Yamaha Music London (152-160 Wardour Street, Soho) from 10.30am-11.30am on Saturday, 3rd October to talk about his career, his latest album and the design of the Yamaha Bobby Shew signature trumpet. He'll be interspersing his talk with short duo performances with pianist Gareth Williams.

Entry is free and there's no need to book - just turn up on the day. One lucky winner will win a pair of tickets to see Shew in concert on Sunday 4th October at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club.

Bobby Shew was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He began playing the guitar at the age of eight and switched to trumpet at 10. By the time he was 13 he was playing at local dances with a number of bands. By 15 he'd put together his own group to play at dances, occasional concerts and in jazz coffee houses. He spent most of his high school nights playing at a dinner club, giving him an early start to his professional career.

Shew spent three years as trumpet soloist in the famed NORAD multi-service band. Shortly after leaving, he joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Sam Donahue, which gave him the chance to perform with trumpeter Charlie Shavers. After his stint with Tommy Dorsey, Bobby was asked to play with Woody Herman's band upon Bill Chase's recommendation. He then spent some time playing for Della Reese and Buddy Rich, whose big band had just been formed. Many similar situations followed, and Bobby played lead trumpet for a number of pop stars. This brought Shew to live in Las Vegas, where he became prominent in various hotels and casinos. By this time he was widely known for his strong lead playing rather than as a jazz soloist. So, late in 1972, he decided to make a move to the Los Angeles area in order to develop as a jazz player.

Once in Los Angeles, Shew spent time with the groups of Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Horace Silver and Frank Strazzeri-Sam Most, as well as numerous big bands. He also became a leader, recording many of his own albums. Several received high accolades from critics and high placement on the airplay charts. Outstanding In His Field was nominated for a Grammy in 1980, while Heavy Company was awarded the Jazz Album Of The Year in 1983.

During this time, Shew found a great deal of studio work, including TV shows like Hawaii 5-O, Streets Of San Francisco, Happy Days, Laverne And Shirley and Eight Is Enough. His work on soundtracks includes Grease I and II, Rocky I and II, Six-Pack, and The Muppet Movie. He has also held a few minor acting roles in movies and TV shows.

In addition to a busy performing and private teaching schedule, Shew spends a considerable amount of time actively involved in the educational system, conducting clinics and master classes all over the world. He has been active on the board of the International Trumpet Guild, and acted as National Trumpet Chairman for the International Association of Jazz Educators for 16 years. He authors numerous articles of educational interest in various trade magazines. Shew has been an artist-in-residence all over the world. He continues to tour internationally, produce and record. He has released several albums for the MAMA Foundation, including Playing With Fire with Tom Harrell, Heavyweights with Carl Fontana and Salsa Caliente. In addition, for other labels, Shew has released a CD recorded with the The Metropole Orchestra and a double-CD set for Seabreeze Records, The Music of John Harmon.

There's more information at the Yamaha Music London website.

Text by Bruce Lindsay, photo by Gordon Sapsed

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