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 of influences with ease and grace. Pioneering guitar 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’s music would belong there.
Woody received his first musical schooling in the living room of Reverend Gary Davis, the legendary blues, gospel and ragtime guitarist. Mann soon went on to perform with blues legends Son House and Bukka White, British great Jo Anne Kelly, and guitar innovator John Fahey. 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, Mann has pursued a rich and diverse career. He 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 classses throughout the world, founded International Guitar Seminars / Acoustic Sessions Inc, and schooled countless guitarists through his acclaimed books and DVDs including the series “The Art of Acoustic Blues Guitar,” “The Complete Robert Johnson,” “The Blues Fakebook,” and “Lisboa – the Guitar Of Woody Mann,” a collection of his original compositions. He has recorded nine albums ranging from “Stories” (1995) to “Tribute to the Reverend” (2014), as well as collaborations with blues legends Son House and John Cephas. Acknowledging his artistry, the famed C.F. Martin guitar company has honored Woody with the recent release of the “Woody Mann” signature model guitar. Few guitarists have been so generous with their knowledge. He is presently a visiting artist at berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Mann has not forgotten those early lessons in the Rev. Davis’ living room or the jazz traditions that were his wellspring. He has since become one of the world’s most renowned guitar masters and song writing story tellers with his own contemporary improvisational style.
“Mann is simply spellbinding” – Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine (USA)
…”Mann has absorbed so many guitar styles that he can change moods on a dime, weaving lyrical single string lines and chord harmonies that can take his tunes across the musical divides between genres” – Acoustic Guitar Magazine…
“… Mann blurs the line between jazz, blues, classical, and world music creating his own sound in the process. Attempts to categorize his music simply miss the point. This is brilliant playing that demands to be heard.” –Sing Out Magazine
”Don’t miss a chance to see him; you are unlikely to hear anything- or anyone – better in the fields that Mann has chosen to master.” –The London Times.