Woody’s Style

I have been listening to Woody Shaw a lot recently and I have picked out the following stylistic features of his playing:

  1. Variation of articulation. Woody uses a wide range of articulation to punctuate phrases and create interest, ranging from flowing legatos to spiky staccatos.
  2. Inflexions. Smears and falls are used to obscure the beginnings and ends of notes. He also uses vibrato regularly when landing on important notes of phrases.
  3. Use of the tritone pentatonic scales over dominant chords, and the II pentatonic scale over I chords to create a lydian effect.
  4. “Side slipping”. The art of slipping from one scale or key centre to another a semitone away, and then back again (often this is achieved using pentatonic scales).

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