Title: Woody Mann
Location: Chapel Arts Centre
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Description: Among guitarists and critics, Woody Mann is considered a modern master. While the blues are his touchstone, he seems to draw inspiration from every direction, blending a myriad influences with ease and grace.
Pioneering finger-style legend John Fahey said it well: “You can hear classical, jazz and blues approaches somehow converging into a single sparkling sound – a sound completely his own. Woody takes a fresh approach to his blues re-creations and his own compositions defy category. If there was a category simply called ‘great music’ Woody…would belong there.”
Woody Mann received his first musical schooling in the living room of Rev. Gary Davis, the now legendary blues, gospel, and ragtime guitarist. Though Davis died in 1972, his guitar mastery proved to be an indelible influence on his young student and friend. The passion, energy and artistry of Davis’ early work became a lasting touchstone for Mann as he embarked on his own musical journey.
Mann soon went on to perform with modern day blues musicians John Fahey, British great Jo-Ann Kelly, as well as early masters of the genre, such as Bukka White and Son House. Mann complemented the tutelage of Rev. Davis with formal training at New York’s celebrated Juilliard School. In addition, Mann completed a period of intense study with noted Chicago-born pianist Lennie Tristano, who introduced him to the world of jazz and its infinite possibilities. During this time, Mann’s early musical grounding began to blossom into an improvisational style all his own.
Since then, he has pursued a rich and diverse career, which ranges from playing with jazz great Attila Zoller, accompanying songwriter Dori Previn, and teaching guitar to legendary recording artist Paul Simon. Mann has recorded extensively and performed everywhere from the orchestra pits of Broadway to festivals, clubs and concert stages worldwide. Mann’s reach as a teacher, producer, and writer has been just as sweeping; he has been a faculty member at the New School in New York City, conducted master workshops throughout the world, founded International Guitar Seminars and Acoustic Sessions Inc, and schooled countless guitarists through his acclaimed books and DVDs including The Art of Acoustic Blues Guitar series, The Complete Robert Johnson, The Blues Fakebook and the recently published Lisboa – the Guitar of Woody Mann – a collection of his original compositions.
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