Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Shelton, Chip (Clarence Elmo Shelton, Jr.)

Shelton, Chip [Clarence Elmo Shelton, Jr.], Concert Flute in C, and Bb Flute D'Amor (both custom-fitted for End-Blown play in saxophone-like position), Contra-Bass & Bass Flutes, Alto Flute in G, Ethnic Wood Flutes, and Piccolo; b. Welch, West Virginia, 2 December 1944. He was born to Clarence E. Shelton (b.1911, Seebree, Ky.; d.1996), and Jane S. Shelton (b.1915, Worth, W. Va.; d. 1997). 

Chip Shelton  studied Drums with his multi-instrumental-hobbyist/ record collector father, age 5 to 7. Chip's older brother, Ronald Shelton (b.1934, Pensacola, Fl.) also played drums during this same period, performing with a Swing/ R&B Band for Kimball High School events in W. Va. Chip studied Piano age 8 to 11, and Clarinet, age 11 to14, also finding time to participate in Choir, Dance Class [TV Talent Show Winner], and Sports. He attended high school in Dayton, Ohio, followed by 3 years of  pre-med at University of Cincinnati, Ohio, experimenting with his own brand of self-taught improvisation on Piano, Clarinet, and Saxophone. At age 20, Chip received a "calling" to become more focused musically. While a dentistry major at Howard University in the late 1960's, Chip jammed with notables like Donny Hathaway, Sherry Winston, and Lloyd McNeil, connected with Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, and led his own straight-ahead jazz quintet, the "DMZ Revisited", in which he played Piano. At age 24, Chip Shelton, motivated solely by the desire to become a better musician (and armed with a dental degree for staying-power), made New York home. He studied and/or performed with Bill Barron, James Moody, Hank Mobley, Irene Reid, Jimmy Ponder, Frank Foster, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Hubert Laws, Ernie Wilkins, Joe Newman, and many others around New York and New Jersey.

He's married to Kathleen Birchette- Shelton and two children, Leslie Shelton (b.1978, NYC) and Clifford Shelton (b. 1979, NYC) ensued. Chip continued to perform live alongside Greg Bandy, Peter Bernstein, Philip Harper, Herman Foster, Lou Donaldson, and TK Blue in top NY venues including Cami Hall, Town Hall, the Cellar, Showmans, Windows on the World, the Village Gate, Town Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall. The Shelton children, music lovers and collectors, opted not to pursue music performance, each having had several years of piano studies. In 1987, he studied sax and flute first with Broadway Musician Ken Adams, and then with Music Educator John Purcell. From 1988 to 1990, Chip attended Manhattan School of Music full time as a Jazz Flute Major. He also continued private study with both, Musicianship-Specialist, Dr. Helen Hobbs Jordan (then, an octogenarian), and with the "Dean of American Flutists", Julius Baker (then a septegenarian), who had been Hubert Laws' teacher at Julliard. These studies culminated with Shelton performing classical pieces for Baker's renowned Univ. of Conn., Bridgeport, Master Class in 1991. Circa 1992, Chip studied with Bebop Coach Barry Harris, and traveled to Oregon for a week- long master class with critics- choice, flutist James Newton. During these early 1990's, Chip got to hone his skills, performing alongside Rodney Jones, Theo Blechman, D.D. Jackson, Joel Frahm, and others. It was also during this period that Chip attracted the attention of veteran Drummer/Percussionist, turned Record Producer, Kenny Mead, a skilled and valuable liaison in helping to usher the Shelton career to heightened professional levels. The mid 1990's brought record deals, first with the Rise Up Label, then with the Japan-based Satellites Records Label, and performances with Jazz Luminaries like Louis Hayes, Dick Griffin, Joe Lee Wilson, Roy Ayers, Bob Baldwin, Ted Curson, Antonio Hart, Ron Carter, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Roy Meriwether, John Hicks, Calvin Hill, Ryo Kawasaki, Guillerme Franco, Lynn Seaton, Spirit of Life Ensemble, Paul Serrato, Art Lillard Heavenly Big Ba nd, and many others at venues like Sweet Basil, Madison Square Garden, Iridium, Blue Note, Birdland, SOB's, Tavern on the Green, Apollo Theater, Trumpet's, Duc des Lombards, National Flute Association Conventions, and Crampton Auditorium, Howard U. Experience in various Big Bands inspired Chip Shelton,  in the mid-1990's, to Found and Lead the the World Flute Orchestra (WFO), featuring 10 of NYC's top flutists, including Mauricio Smith, Doug Harris, Jamie Baum, Elise Wood, Dotti Anita Taylor, Jan Leder, Ali Ryerson, and many others, plus a 5-piece rhythm section that included Ryo Kawasaki, Bertha Hope, Art Lillard,  Eli Yamen, Daud David Williams, Tommy James, Bryce Sebastien and others. WFO has been featured at NY venues like Zanzibar, St. Peter's Jazz Vespers, the Five Spot, and the Sunset Family Jazz Festival. A smaller contingency, featuring 5 flutes, dubbed the NY Jazz Flutet has played the Rainbow Room, Club Groove, Metropolis, Birdland, and other NY area venues. Some of the clinics and educational performances by Shelton include: NY Flute Club, Inc., NYC.,  Masterclass with James Newton, "Using the Flute in Jazz", March, 1992; The 22nd Annual Convention of the Natl. Flute Assoc., Inc., Kansas City, Mo., "TMJ Prevention and Self Management"; and "African Natl. Anthems", Aug. 1994; The NY Flute Fair, by the NY Flute Club, Inc., NYC, "TMJ Self Care for the Flutist", ca. March, 1995; The 23rd Annual Convention of the Natl. Flute Assoc., Inc., Orlando Fla., "Music for Racial Harmony", Aug., 1995;  and Arnold Jay Smith's Jazz Insights, The New School, NYC., circa Spring, 1999.

Christmas Is My Time of Year (ca.1985); Plan Your Dreams (1992); Flute Bass-ics (featuring Ron Carter) (1994); Spirit of Life Ensemble: Feel the Spirit (1994); A Labor of Love (1995);  Paul Serrato: Neon Palm Tree (1995);  3 Flutes Up (1998); Ryo Kawasaki: Cosmic Rhythm (1999); More What Flutes 4 (2000); Paul Serrato: More Than Red (2001).

Radio and television broadcasts:
Manhattan Cable TV, NYC, WFO "Live at Zanzibar", host Musa Johnson, (1994); CAS, NJ Cable TV,  "Cultural Odyssey", (1995); WDCU-FM, Washington, DC, "Afternoon Jazz" w Candy Shannon (1997); WKCR-FM, NYC, "Jazz Alternatives" w Sharif Abdus Salaam (2002).

Video produced by Gil Noble, "Invisible Braces- Now You See Them, Now You Don't" (1992); 
Video on Sex Education and Contraception, "Straight Talk" (1992).

Unissued recordings:
1985-1995, about a dozen each, audio and videotapes, recorded at various studios and live performances.

Cadence, "Chip Shelton, A Labor of Love, Aug., 1996
Jazz Times, "Chip Shelton, A Labor of Love, Feb., 1998
Cadence, "Chip Shelton, 3 Flutes Up, Nov., 1999.
Jazz Hot, "Chip Shelton, 3 Flutes Up, Nov., 1999.
Jazz Review. com, "Featured Artist Chip Shelton, 3 Flutes Up", 2000
All Music Guide, "More What Flutes 4...Live", 2001
Jazz Times, "Currents", Oct., 2001
The City Sun, NYC,  "Catch the Chip Shelton Quartet", May 24, 1989.
Gannett Newspapers, Westchester, NY, " Bracing Musician", Feb.21, 1993.
The Standard Star, Westchester, NY, "New Rochelle Flutist Jazzes Up for Family Festival", Aug. 25, 1994.
The Washington Post, Wash., DC, "On the Town...Roy Ayers, Chip Shelton", Feb. 27, 1997.
Dayton Daily News, Dayton, O., "Double Time", Oct. 9, 1998.
Dayton Voice, Dayton, O., "Homecoming for Chip Shelton", Oct. 14, 1998.
Tomorrow, New Rochelle-Pelham, NY, "Jazz Concert at Library", Dec.12,1998.
Articles by Shelton:
"TMJ Exercises For Prevention and Self Care" (Clinic Handout), 1994.
The Flutist Quarterly, Journal of the Natl. Flute Assoc., Inc., "Jaws Need Love Too", Spring, 1996.
The Flutist Quarterly, Journal of the Natl. Flute Assoc.,Inc., "Stress and Pain... Many Flutists experience discomfort", ca.1994


Contact information
Tel. 212/ 222-1543
Fax. 212/932-0996

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