Charles "Bobo" Shaw

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Charles Wesley "Bobo" Shaw (September 5, 1947 – January 16, 2017)[1] was an American free jazz drummer, known as a prominent member of the Human Arts Ensemble and Black Artists Group. He was born in Pope, Mississippi.

Charles "Bobo" Shaw joined the American Woodsman Drummer bugle corp in 1953 and also played with the Tom Powel Post American Legion #77. Shaw also learned trombone and bass growing up, and studied drums under Joe Charles and Elijah Shaw. "Bobo" also studied with Rich O'Donnel and Bernnie Snyder of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He also was a founding member of the Black Artists Group, a St. Louis, Missouri ensemble, in the 1960s; during that decade he also played with Lester Bowie, Frank Lowe, Hamiett Bluiett, John Mixon, and Oliver Lake. He moved to Europe later in the 1960s and played in Paris with Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Frank Wright, Alan Silva, Michel Portal, Cecil Taylor, Richard Martin, and Frank Lowe.

After returning to St. Louis, he played with Lake again in 1971 and then in the 1970s led the Human Arts Ensemble, playing with Lester Bowie, Joseph Bowie, Julius Hemphill, David Murray and Lake again. He played with Billy Bang in the 1980s, and experimented with incorporating new wave and funk music into his improvisational Jam Sessions at venues in New York City.

Charles was a long time resident of Garfield Apartments, a part of Peter & Paul Community Service in St Louis, Missouri. He was placed into a nursing care center in December 2016 due to his failing health. Shaw died on January 16, 2017 at the age of 69.[2][1]


  • 1972: Oliver Lake and the Black Artists Group – Ntu – Point At Which Creation Begins
  • 1973: Charles Bobo Shaw and the Human Arts Ensemble – Red, Black, and Green Solidarity Unit
  • 1973: Charles Bobo Shaw and the Human Arts Ensemble – Under The Sun
  • 1974: Streets of St. Louis
  • 1974: Charles Bobo Shaw and the Human Arts Ensemble - Whisper Of Dharma
  • 1973: Luther Thomas And The Human Arts Ensemble – Funky Donkey
  • 1974: Luther Thomas and The Human Arts Ensemble – Banana
  • 1974: Lester Bowie – Fast Last! (Muse)
  • 1975: Lester Bowie – Rope-A-Dope (Muse)
  • 1975: Oliver Lake - Heavy Spirits
  • 1975: Frank Lowe – The Flam (Black Saint)
  • 1975: Leroy Jenkins Orchestra – For Players Only
  • 1976: Human Arts Ensemble in Trio – Live in Germany Volumes 1 and 2
  • 1977: Anthony Braxton Quintet – Quintet (Basel) 1977 (hatOLOGY)
  • 1976: Charles Bobo Shaw and the Human Arts Ensemble – Junk Trap
  • 1976: Charles Bobo Shaw and the Human Arts Ensemble – Streets Of Saint Louis
  • 1977: New York City Loft Session – Wild Flower
  • 1977: Charles Bobo Shaw and Lester Bowie – Bugle Boy Bop
  • 1978: Joseph Bowie and Defunkt – Thermal Nuclear Sweat
  • 1978: Junk Trap with Joseph Bowie, James Emery, John Lindberg, Luther Thomas (Black Saint)
  • 1979: Frank Lowe – Fresh
  • 1979: Saint Louis Creative Ensemble – I Can’t Figure Out (Whatcha Doin’ To Me)
  • 1981: P'nkj'zz (Muse)
  • 1985: Billy Bang - The Fire from Within


  1. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (January 20, 2017). "Charles Bobo Shaw, Avant-Garde Jazz Drummer, Dies at 69". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Charles "Bobo" Shaw 1947-2017". St. Louis Jazz Notes. January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2017.