The Cameron University Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts will present the 2017 Jazz Festival with special guest artist Bobby Shew on Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cameron University Theatre. Shew will perform with the Cameron University Jazz Ensemble and the Lawton Community Jazz Ensemble. Admission is free.
A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Shew could easily be described as a child prodigy. He started playing guitar at the age of 8 and switched to the trumpet at age 10. Three years later, he was playing at local dances with a number of bands. By the age of 15, he put together his own group to play at dances, occasional concerts and in jazz coffee houses. Shew spent most of his high school days playing as many as six nights a week in a dinner club.
He then spent three years as the jazz trumpet soloist in the famed NORAD multi-service band. A stint with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra followed, giving him the opportunity to perform with trumpet legend Charlie Shavers. He was also a member of Woody Herman’s band and spent time playing for Della Reese and Buddy Rich.
As the lead trumpet for numerous pop stars, Shew became popular in Las Vegas and was widely known for his strong lead playing rather than as a jazz soloist. In late 1972, he decided to make a move to the Los Angeles area in order to return to his jazz roots. In the years that followed, he spent time with the groups of Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Horace Silver Quintet, and Frank Strazzeri-Sam Most, as well as numerous big bands such as Bill Holman, Louie Bellson, Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin, Oliver Nelson, Bill Berry, Nat Pierce-Frank Capp Juggernaut, Ed Shaughnessy, Terry Gibbs, Benny Goodman, Maynard Ferguson, Neal Hefti, Don Menza, and Bob Florence.
In addition to being a sideman, Shew also became a leader around this time, recording many of his own albums. His album “Outstanding in His Field” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980, and “Heavy Company” was awarded the Jazz Album Of The Year in 1983 by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).
He was also heavily involved in studio work, performing for television shows and motion pictures such as “Hawaii 5-O,” “Streets Of San Francisco,” “Bob Newhart,” “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Midnight Special,” “Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert,” “Happy Days,” “Laverne And Shirley,” “Eight Is Enough,” “Grease I and II,” “Rocky I and II,” “Six-Pack,” “The Muppet Movie,” “The Drivers” and “Taxi.”
Shew never stops using his remarkable insight, sensitivity and creativity to inspire the next generation of jazz players and teachers. He devotes a considerable amount of time actively involved in the educational system, conducting clinics and master classes at high schools and college campuses all over the world. He has been active on the Board of Directors of the International Trumpet Guild and has 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, all translated into several languages for worldwide distribution.
The 2017 Jazz Festival is made possible by a grant from Cameron University Lectures and Concerts Series.
For more information, contact the Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts at 580-581-2346.
March 29, 2017