Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jaleel Shaw's Hat

The first time I saw the fine young saxophonist Jaleel Shaw was in January 2006, when he performed at the Artists' Quarter in St. Paul with Roy Haynes' Fountain of Youth. I've made it a point ever since to catch him when I can, whether at the AQ as leader, or on the Ted Mann or Monterey Jazz Festival stage with Haynes. His playing is full of energy and integrity, intelligence and warmth. (Here's an interview from 2008.)

Jaleel is part of my ongoing Hats for Cats project. (I make hats for jazz musicians whose music I enjoy, and for others associated with jazz whose efforts I appreciate.) At my request, he gamely got out of bed one morning, pulled on his hat, snapped a picture, and sent it to me. Thanks, Leel. XOXO

Here's the current list of cats with hats:

Reid Anderson • Paul Aschenbrenner • Chris Bates • JT Bates • Leah Beach • Tim Berne • Don Berryman • Brian Blade • Walter Blanding • Leon “Chocolate” Brown • Andrea Canter • James Cammack • Laura Caviani • Larry Clothier • Pat Courtemanche • Chris Crenshaw • Dan Cunningham • Joe Doermann • John Economos • Craig Eichhorn • Dan Eikmeier • Michael Ekhaus • Kurt Elling • Jay Epstein • Douglas Ewart • Milo Fine • Arne Fogel • Scott Fultz • Larry Fuller • Vincent Gardner • Alvester Garnett • Rick Germanson • Ted Gioia • Dave Graf • Benny Green • Doug Haining • Roy Hargrove • Patrick Harison • Nancy Harms • Carlos Henriquez • Ruth Hiland • Laurence Hobgood • Kenny Horst • Ethan Iverson • Ali Jackson • Ahmad Jamal • Willard Jenkins • Gordy Johnson • Sean Jones • Stanley Jordan • Jason Jungbluth • Stefan Kac • Dave King • Mary Lewis • Michael Lewis • Wendy Lewis • Adam Linz • Dean Magraw • Wynton Marsalis • Charnett Moffett • Kristen Mors • Bryan Nichols • Phil Palombi • Lowell Pickett • Marcus Printup • Joshua Redman • Hank Roberts • Justin Robinson • Reuben Rogers • Christine Rosholt • Kelly Rossum • Maria Schneider • Lilly Schwartz • Jaleel Shaw • James Singleton • Greg Skaff • Tim Sparks • Maryann Sullivan • Chris Thomson • Deborah Upchurch • Jeremy Walker • Marsha Walker • Pete Whitman • John Whiting • Davis Wilson • Miguel Zenon

Hats will soon be in the mail to Craig Taborn, Nathan Hanson, Brian Roessler, Pete Hennig, and Fred Hersch. 

The hats are gifts, freely offered, and for me they're a kind of karma thing--not to sound woo-woo, but I believe that what goes around comes around, maybe not in a way you expect, but sooner or later the ends of the circle connect.

True story: In early February I was in NYC for a weekend--just two nights, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5 and 6. I had tickets to see Regina Carter's Reverse Thread on Saturday night at the Iridium. That afternoon, I got an email from Alvester Garnett, Carter's husband and the drummer in her band. He wrote:
Hi Pamela, 
I was thinking of you the other night when the boiler's pilot light burnt out. The hat you made me kept my bald head warm! It's very soft and I actually slept in it so thanks!
What are the chances that (1) I would hear from Alvester during the very brief window of time when I was in NYC, (2) Reverse Thread would be playing that night, and (3) I would already have plans to be at the late set? I let him know by return email, and his reply said it all: "Wow! Crazy!"


  1. Hi Pam,

    You beat me to it! lol!! I'm Jaleel's Mom and I knit too. Unfortunately, I made him a hat last year that did not come out too good. He does wear he scarf I knitted. Are you on ravelry? Do you knit from patterns or do you design? Well, it's nice to meet a fellow knitter and especially someone who is so generous with their talent. (To have made so many hats, you must be fast!)

    F.Y.I - On ravelry, I am LibbyJewel.


  2. Olivia, what a pleasure to hear from you! Jaleel speaks so highly of you, but I'm sure you already know that. I'm on Ravelry, sort of--I have an account but I never visit. It's too distracting. I kind of invent my own patterns, but since we're talking hats, they're not exactly brain surgery. It's fun to do and it makes me happy. I'm not all that fast--hats are small. :)

  3. Ha, that's a cool idea. I saw Jaleel Shaw in Austin Texas with Roy Haynes. Yeah, he's a bad dude for sure. I like the hats idea. I wanna do something like that.


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