Jazz

Ben Shaw has an insatiable appetite for creating new music. He composes for a number of groups - ranging in size from duo to octet - in which he and his colleagues perform modern compositions in the jazz tradition. He has performed these compositions across the Northeast as a member of several different ensembles, spending time as both a leader and sideman, and has collaborated with many artists on several recordings and live performances.

In 2020 he released his self-titled debut album which covers a lot of sonic territory over its five tracks. Shaw spoke about wanting to put out something that explored a breadth of sound with the Newport Daily News’ Rob Duguay, noting “I want it all to come under a unified voice for me, so I hope when people listen to the album that they’ll understand that I’m still searching and trying to find things, but that part of the beauty of jazz — and music in general — is that you’re constantly searching for your next discovery… I chose five songs that echoed the ethereal qualities of jazz along with the spiritual side of it. There’s also some groovy stuff where you can hear the elements of funk and hip hop, then some weirdness and atmospheric stuff, and that all leads up to an epic ending that sounds like a chant. It’s all in there and I’m proud to say that in that moment in time that’s me verbatim, and it shows exactly who I am and what I’m trying to do.”

The album was recorded at Big Nice Studio in Lincoln, RI and features Shaw on tenor sax, Nick Sanfilippo on piano, Tom Casale in bass, and Max Goldman. It was released in August 2020 and is available for purchase and streaming on all platforms.

Ben Shaw

Ben Shaw

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The self-titled jazz debut from local composer and performer Ben Shaw. Shaw has been a fixture in the Rhode Island jazz scene, as well as performing across the Northeast playing saxophone and composing for several different jazz ensembles, spending time as both a leader and sideman. Every song on the five track album was written by Shaw and covers a range of influences, calling to mind a wide array of jazz styles, both traditional and more contemporary.

Speaking about the album, Shaw says “I feel constantly compelled to do all of these different types of music — classical, singer/songwriter, hip-hop, etc — and the most difficult time I have with that is trying to find my voice within those styles. In jazz, I’ve always had a voice in my head along with an approach I’ve been going for and I really wanted to put out something that captured the sound I wanted; I want it all to come under a unified voice. I’ve always lacked confidence in my abilities as a jazz musician and for a long time felt that I was hopelessly inadequate as both a player and composer so anything I was doing wasn’t worthy of putting down on record. But as I was turning 30, I started slowly unburdening myself of some of that self-doubt and began to focus more on the joy of the craft and the making of music, rather than the assumptions I had put up as roadblocks. So I hope when people listen to the album that they’ll understand that though I’m still searching and trying to find things, in this moment in time, what you hear is the best representation of what I’m trying to do.”

Featuring brilliant local musicians Nick Sanfilippo (piano), Tom Casale (bass), and Max Goldman (drums), the album was recorded over one day at Big Nice Studio in Lincoln, RI and engineered by the incredibly talented Bradford Krieger. Fans of Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Bill Frisell, Charles Lloyd, and Sonny Rollins will love the energy and sonic texture of this album.

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Sheet Music Book
  • Sheet Music Book
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These songs were written over several years but together they provide a good picture of what I’ve always wanted my voice to be and so I wanted to put this book together so you could experience them as they were designed, see what we saw as we played them, and to give you a chance to one day bring your own voice to them.

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