Bobby Shew: Jazz Legend's Biography & Mastery Secrets

Bobby Shew, “Music is not a kind of thing where you sit by the phone and wait for things to happen.”

Famous trumpeter Bobby Shew

An American jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player from New Mexico, Bobby Shew is a very versatile musician with the career of over six decades. He won the hearts of music lovers by his exceptional technical proficiency, impressive improvisations, and a lyrical tone of the trumpet. His musical journey is full of interesting facts, and we’d like to shed a light on some of them.

Trumpet accessories by KGUmusic
  • Bobby Shew started playing musical instruments at an early age. When he was eight, he was playing the guitar and at ten, he switched to the trumpet. At the age of thirteen, Bobby was already performing in local bands. When he was fifteen, he established his own band, which played concerts from time to time. During his high school, he performed at least six nights a week in a dinner club.
  • Shew’s musical perspective was shaped by the music of jazz legends, including Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard.
    Clifford Brown | Dizzy Gillespie | Freddie Hubbard
  • During the mid-1960s he collaborated with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Sam Donahue, later he played with Woody Herman’s band. He also worked with Benny Goodman, Terry Gibbs and Buddy Rich.
  • Bobby Shew played a lead trumpet for many pop stars that provided him with a chance to perform in hotels and casinos of Las Vegas. During that time, he was mainly recognized as a lead player rather than as a jazz soloist.
  • He moved to the Los Angeles area late in 1972 to advance as a jazz musician. There he collaborated with the film and television studios as well as played jazz gigs. At that time, Bobby became a member of the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band.
    Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band
  • Although Shew was busy as a studio musician, he also conducted masterclasses and workshops worldwide as a skillful teacher and organizer of jazz clinics. For his dedication to sharing his knowledge with other brass players, many well-known musicians whom he has influenced and helped to discover themselves as artists, respect him. This list includes Till Broenner, John Hagstrom, Michael Bogart, Gianni Marinucci, Joe Magnarelli, George Rabbai and others.
  • His album “Outstanding In His Field” received a Grammy nomination in 1980. Moreover, in 1983 the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand honored his “Heavy Company” with the Jazz Album of the Year.
    Bobby Shew – Outstanding In His Field
  • Bobby leads a very active social life. He has been a Trumpet Chairman for the International Association of Jazz Educators for 16 years. The musician was also active on the Board of Directors of the International Trumpet Guild. He has written many educational articles, hosted a weekly TV show “Just Jazz,” and he even starred in movies.
  • Bobby Shew's legacy extends beyond his own recordings and performances. He has left a noticeable mark on the world of jazz through his mentorship and dedication to music.
    Bobby Shew
  • In one of his interviews, Bobby explains his passion, “I’ve always felt a really deep, spiritual need for jazz playing, and once you’ve been touched by that real understanding and feeling for creativity in that particular form—it’s something that you can never put down”.
  • Bobby is an endorser of Yamaha products. He collaborated with the brand to develop his own signature line of trumpets, known for their quality. His signature Yamaha trumpets feature specific bore sizes, bell shapes, and valve configurations designed according to musician’s playing style.

1 comment

Great article. Bobby is an amazing trumpeter, teacher and human being. His guidance has been transformative in my playing and I like many others cherish the time I’ve spent with him.

Randy Waugh April 09, 2024

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published