Blake Shaw is an upright/electric bassist, composer & arranger, bandleader and private lessons teacher originally from Lisbon, Iowa who now resides in Iowa City. Shaw studied with John Hall on double bass at the age of 17 with encouragement from his high school band director Roger DeYoung after becoming familiar with electric bass a few years before. He started his college career in the fall of 2008 at Kirkwood Community College and studied double bass with Jeanette Welch. He moved on to the University of Iowa to pursue a Bachelor’s of Music in classical double bass performance studying with professor Volkan Orhon and completing that degree in 2013. After a brief cruise ship gig in Australia, with the P&O Australia cruise line, following his BM degree Shaw came back to the US to start a Master of Arts degree at UI under the supervision of John Rapson, Damani Phillips, James Dreier and Steve Grismore while acting as one of the jazz department’s teaching assistants. Shaw was fortunate enough to play along side with several different guest artists during his years at UI such as: Wycliffe Gordon, O’had Talmor, Carmen Bradford, Terrell Stafford, Dave Pietro, and Dick Oatts.
Shaw has had a number of great experiences opening for people and bands like Donny McCaslin, Lake Street Dive, Bridget Kearney, Margaret Glaspy, The Marcus King Band, Groovement, Matt Wilson, John Raymond and Real Feels and Caroline Smith. Shaw has also played in bands featured in different music fests such as the main stage of the Iowa City Jazz Fest, Twin Cities Jazz Fest, 80/35, Camp Euforia, Summer Camp, Iowa Soul Fest, Iowa Stock Music Fest, Mission Creek and Grey Area. Shaw has also held a seat on the Iowa City Jazz Fest committee picking the main stage acts since 2016. Currently Shaw teaches general music at the Hiawatha and Cedar Rapids Day School’s along with touring and gigging throughout the year.
Shaw’s influences come from various genres and instrumentalists. He has made it his mission to become diverse and proficient in many different contexts. His experience stretches from jazz, rock, classical, bluegrass, to latin, funk, R&B, and anything in between. His main bass influences have been but aren’t limited to Dave Holland, Christian McBride and John Clayton. Current bands Shaw is booking with include but aren’t limited to (click for links): The Blake Shaw Quintet, Thrio, Goose Town, PSA, Elizabeth Moen, River Glen, and The Clinton St House Band. You can also find Shaw subbing in Christopher Merz’s Very Happy Band as well as Flash in a Pan. Side-musician projects include Dana T’s bands, the Muscatine Community Orchestra and Eric Thompson’s Fun Time music Hour.