Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Shaw is a graduate of Berklee College of Music (undergrad) and Manhattan School of Music (Masters). He's currently playing with the Mingus Big Band and lives in Paterson, NJ. His mother is Olivia Shaw, a single mother of Jaleel, her only child. She also played records constantly in their Philadelphia home, training Jaleel's ears to the sounds of jazz. Shaw came to the saxophone almost by process of elimination. He took drum lessons and piano lessons in kindergarten, but gave them up. In fourth grade, band instruments were introduced in his school, but his mother vetoed both his first and second choices (trumpet and drums). Shaw played clarinet for a year, then switched to saxophone. Before long, he was studying at the Philadelphia Settlement Music School and the Maplewood Music School. In Philadelphia, he studied with saxophonist Rayburn Wright, Robert Landham, and jazz instructor Lovette Hines, whose students have included Christian McBride and Joey Defrancesco. He also had many mentors in Philadelphia, including John Blake, Byard Lancastar, Alfie Pollit, and Grover Washington Jr. Jaleel attended the High School for Creative & Performing Arts and later transferred and graduated from George Washington High School. By the time he was twelve, Shaw was attending Clark Terry's jazz camps in the summer; later he would go to Philadelphia's Creative and Performing Arts High School. No instructor was more influential than Bobby Watson, an early idol who Shaw got the opportunity to study with for two years. There was no question in Shaw's mind that Berklee was the place to go for college, and he won a scholarship from the national scholarship tour. He arrived there in the fall of 1996, majoring in Performance and Music Education. Shaw credits saxophone teacher Andy McGhee for "putting me in the right direction. He kicked my butt. I really appreciate it." Now, Shaw thinks nothing of disappearing into a practice room and not emerging for six hours. He traveled to Cologne, Germany, to perform at the convention of the International Association of Schools of Jazz. He also took part in the Thelonious Monk Institute summer program. Shaw went to the JVC Jazz Festival in New York with a Berklee student group, and took an eight-day tour of France with Phil Wilson's big band. Shaw was also chosen to lead a quartet of his own at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Being at college also gave him the opportunity to perform for and meet one of his jazz idols, Wayne Shorter, when the saxophonist and composer came to Berklee to accept an honorary doctorate at the 1999 Commencement Ceremony. In addition to his studies, Shaw has been a regular member of two busy jazz groups in Boston, Either Orchestra and the New Life Orchestra. Shaw's performed with such world class artists as Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Arturo Sandoval, Nicholas Payton, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra
Upon graduating from Berklee, Jaleel received a scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he received his Masters in Jazz Performance in May, 2002. Jaleel has performed internationally in Australia, China, London, Paris, Italy, Finland, Africa, Scotland, Amsterdam, Austria, Spain, and Portugal, as well as many cities in the U.S. Jaleel joined Temple University as a part-time instructor in fall 2003, and currently performs with the Mingus Big Band and with the Jaleel Shaw Quintet. He currently resides in Paterson, NJ.
(Untitled at press time) CD recorded February of 2004; He can be heard on recent recordings from the Mingus Big Band, The Either Orchestra, The Count Basie Big Band, and Jeremy Pelt Quartet.
Have Alto, Will Travel By Robert Keough
Shaw was the winner of 1998 Billboard Scholarship Award as the most promising young musician at Berklee. Also, he's won the Woodwind Department Chair Award, The Outstanding Student Teacher Award, and The Boston Jazz Society Award (1999).