Thursday, January 18, 2018

Jazz Drummer, the First
Black Piano Maker Lands on
Fox's Empire and at the

-- Being America's First African American Piano Manufacturer
is Just One of His Many Accomplishments --

Black Jazz News Staff

Warren Shadd with the Shadd piano

When Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) and Skye Summers (Alicia
Keys) sang "Powerful"  in the historic show
Empire back in
2015, history was also being made as they sang the song on
the first piano ever manufactured by an African American,
Warren Shadd. That was back in 2015 and this little known
milestone has gone essentially unknown to the American public
until now as the Washington Post recently published a feature
on Shadd and his pianos.
Empire now uses six and the Shadd
Piano has just been called up to the Sistine Chapel in the
Vatican! (
read here)

The importance of Shadd's accomplishment cannot be
overstated in a world where young creative black
men pursuing careers in entertainment mostly look to rapping
or singing. Manufacturing musical instruments opens up a
whole new world of opportunity.

If becoming America's first black piano manufacturer wasn't
amazing enough, another little known fact about this
Washington, DC native, is that he is a historically important jazz
drummer-- a former child prodigy known as "Smoke" back in the
1970's and 80's who recorded extensively with the foremost
musicologist on the improvisations of John Coltrane, the great
Andrew White.

And lastly, as we are throwing out little known facts about
Warren Shadd, he was 'Prince' before there was a Prince, self
producing obscure indie rock recordings in the 1970's as a
band leader, writer, vocalist, drummer and accomplished
keyboardist. He was the drummer and nephew of  Grammy
Award Winning jazz legend Shirley Horn and also played
behind Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald. Shadd was an
original member of the famed Howard University Jazz
Ensemble, played organ in Lionel Hampton's Orchestra, wrote
and sang the Billboard charting 1980's dance track
Pretty Girl
Baby Girl
, and as a boy of 12, played in Washington, DC's  red
light district of night clubs and burlesque houses. Hmm sounds
like a movie in the making!

You can check out Shadd Pianos at :
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