“Exciting, captivating and completely distinctive” is how most jazz cognoscenti describe Shawnn's pulsating lyric style. Whether in the intimacy of a club date or the glitter of a Las Vegas showroom, Shawnn has delighted audiences from USA to Europe with her highly popular jazz repertoire laced with blues-oriented improvisations.
Evident in Shawnn's liveliness of lyrical phrasing and intermittent scat variations is the influences of Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughan, from whom she draws that inner core of creative energy. But good genes help, too. Shawnn's father was the late renowned bassist Jimmy Woode, veteran of the Duke Ellington band. Throw into the mix, a lot of musical inspiration and guidance from her Godfather, Clark Terry, and you come up with a combination that can't miss.
Percussion great and latin/jazz impressario Mongo Santamaria discovered Shawnn working in a club in San Jose, California and signed her on the spot to tour with his band. Shawnn electrified audiences as his only vocalist and female percussionist during that two-year circuit where she shared the stage with such greats as Stan Kenton, Celia Cruz, the Fania All-Stars, and Weather Report.
Since then, Shawnn has shared the stage with a prestigious list of notable jazz groups and names: Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Ray Brown, Buster Williams, Red Holloway, Frank Foster and the Basie Band, Nat Adderley, Kenny Barron, Mike Renzi, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Cobb, James Williams, Keter Betts, Bobby Durham, Archie Shep, Benny Golson, Stanley Jordan, Ed Thigpen, Johnny Griffin, Gary Bartz and Riley ....and the list goes on.
Her popularity continues to grow to club goers from Los Angeles to Rome and Moscow to Dubai……special feelings are extolled as she lulls them into a mellow mood as only a sensitive jazz vocalist can do. The true magical quality of Shawnn's exciting voice is best experienced in the ultimate setting of the club dates where her warm charisma can be personally felt by those fortunate enough to spend and evening with her.Shawnn is currently Senior Artist Teacher at The Hartt School/Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division, Univerisity of Hartford, Connecticut. She also taught at Rhode Island College and Providence, College. She also continues to conduct Jazz Vocal Master Classes and concerts at Universities and Colleges throughout the USA and Europe.