Shawn Needham
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Shawn Needham


Band Jazz Funk


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The best kept secret in music


"Review By renowned Jazz Critic"

Review by renowned Jazz Critic Scott Yanow:

“Shawn Needham is a fiery and versatile guitarist whose playing ranges from advanced jazz to fusion and rock.

On his first major record, Needham teams up with the passionate tenor-saxophonist Eric Crystal, Pianist-organist Michael Aaberg, bassist Jon Evans and drummer
Alan Hall for six of his colorful originals and Wayne Krantz’s “Whippersnapper.”
Whether it is the fiery fusion piece “Funkasaurus,” jamming on the
medium up-tempo blues “Camille’s Tune” or rocking out on “Black Sheep,” the guitarist plays with strong creativity and the music sounds quite original, fresh and full of spirit.
There are many great jazz/rock guitarists on the scene these days.
Shawn Needham has the potential to take his place next to the major stylists.”

-Scott Yanow, author of nine jazz books
including Jazz on Record 1917-76, Jazz on Film
and Trumpet Kings
- Scott Yanow

"Jazz/Fusion Tone King"

Jazz/Fusion Tone King

Guitarist Shawn Needham submitted his seven song demo CD-R entitled It's Been Said, which features a variety of instrumental fusion and jazz tracks, all instrumental, and puts the spotlight on the fluid fretwork which holds it all together. Unlike a lot of fusion players who dial in a favorite tone and stick with it for years, Needham likes to use a number of different tones, selecting a tone that best suits the composition. He uses a tough overdriven tone to supercharge the energetic "Lunchbox", while selecting a more Metheny-esque sound for the jazzy "Crash And Burn". His cover of "Feel Like Makin' Love" features a buttery smooth chord melody and double tracked comping, before giving way to a flowing overdriven solo - nice! Needham has mastered the delivery of lush, lyrical and melodic lines while throwing in harmonic surprises to keep the listener engaged, which should give fans reason to anticipate his upcoming new albums. - Guitar Nine Records


As a Leader:
The Shawn Needham Trio--home recording(2001)
The Shawn Needham Trio"Monkeyspeak"--home recording(2002)
Shawn Needham "It's Been Said"---home recording(2003) picked for guitar nine records website as undiscovered artist of 2004,see this site for the review of the record
Shawn Needham "The Courage Sessions"--home recording(2004)
The Shawn Needham Trio "Live at the Guitar Lab"(2005)
Shawn Needham "Black Sheep" major recording studio (2007)
As a sideman:
Grammy nominee Cheryle Correa "I keep Dreaming"(2001) mid level recording studio.Credits: Guitarist
Three Questions "Hungry Ghost" (2005) credits: Bassist,Back up vocals and vocal arrangements as well as co producer.
High Attitude (1998)
credits: Guitarist
Jane Wilson (2006)
credits: guitarist,transciber,arranger and co producer.


Feeling a bit camera shy


It is obvious from a listen to his recent Black Sheep
CD, that Shawn Needham is a very talented and
versatile guitarist. On “Funkasaurus” he sounds like a
fiery fusion guitarist, the cooking blues “Camille’s
Tune” is boppish a la Wes Montgomery and Kenny
Burrell, and the title cut is rock-oriented and
passionate. Few musicians could sound so credible in
such a variety of styles while still always sounding
like himself, but it is natural for Needham, an
important new voice on the guitar.

Shawn Needham was born in Bangor, Maine. “As far as I
can remember, I always played guitar. We had a bass
guitar in the house and I first goofed around with
that before deciding when I was six that I wanted a
guitar. I had a few brief years of basic guitar
lessons and from sixth grade and throughout high
school I also played saxophone, both tenor and alto in
the band program.” He attended a conservatory to learn
classical guitar but remembers that “after I heard the
first Van Halen record, I was blown away that one
could do that on guitar, and soon I switched to
electric guitar. A little later on, my teacher was
Alan Hager, a fantastic player. He turned me on to the
fusion players like Steve Morse, Al DiMeola and Mike
Stern, and then I worked my way back history-wise,
listening to the more straight ahead players. In more
recent times I have been studying with Charlie
Banacos who has really taught me a lot.”

Needham played with garage bands while in high school.
After graduation he worked around Cape Cod in several
diverse groups, performing original progressive rock
with Cold Fusion, cover tunes with Cape Fear, and
fusion with Nothing Nice. He also became a guitar
teacher. By the time he left Cape Cod in 2003, he had
70 students and a one-year waiting list. “The best
thing about teaching is when I find the one person who
is in a similar position as I was early on, someone
who is really hungry to learn.”

Shawn Needham currently lives in the Midwest, close to
several large cities including Nashville. He has
appeared on many recordings as a sideman and
previously led five privately recorded CDs but
considers Black Sheep to be his first major project as
a leader. “I went to California to record that CD and
it was a pleasure to play with such high-caliber
musicians. This is the first time that I’ve really
enjoyed listening to one of my records.” Listeners
will certainly enjoy this program for each selection
has its own personality and, despite the diversity of
styles, the set has a strong unity and is consistently
creative. The guitarist really cuts loose and
stretches himself. “I have a passionate style and I
mean every single note I play 100%. I definitely go
for it. I’m always thinking about what I as a listener
would want to hear next.”

Black Sheep displays Shawn Needham’s attention to
detail and dynamics, his ability to change tones and
moods while always grooving, and his knack for
constantly coming up with the unexpected. It is an
exciting step forward for the creative guitarist who
is poised to have a very significant career.