Blackstone Legacy is the first instance of Woody Shaw stepping into the position of bandleader in the recording studio, something long overdue at the time. With a handpicked ensemble, Shaw was given total creative freedom, and the result is a landmark. His intention was to portray various sociopolitical dramas then being played out, from the ghettos of his youth to the war in Vietnam. That intention is clear in the complex energy exchanged between the horns and in Lenny White’s driving, polyrhythmic drumming.
Compositions by Shaw, such as the title track, are alive with urgency and exploration. His trumpet is warm and fierce as ever and sparkles with all his influences, from Clifford Brown to Lee Morgan. Keyboards player George Cables contributes two fine tunes, “Think On Me” and “New World”; the latter builds from its slow, emotional intro into a funky, rock & roll energy, perfectly reflecting the charged political climate of the early ’70s. Blackstone Legacy was a bold step forward.
Personnel: Woody Shaw (trumpet); Bennie Maupin (flute, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Gary Bartz (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); George Cables (piano, electric piano); Lenny White (drums).
01. Blackstone Legacy
02. Think On Me
03. Lost and Found
04. New World
05. Boo-ann’s Grand
06. A Deed for Dolphy