Among guitarists and critics, Woody Mann is considered a modern master. While the blues are his touchstone, he seems to draw inspiration from every direction, blending a myriad of influences with ease and grace. Pioneering guitar legend John Fahey said it well: "You can hear classical, jazz, and blues approaches somehow converging into a single sparkling sound—a sound completely his own. Woody takes a fresh approach to his blues recreations and his own compositions defy category. If there was a category simply called 'great music' Woody's music would belong there."
Man received his first musical schooling in the living room of Reverend Gary Davis, the legendary blues, gospel, and ragtime guitarist. He soon went on to perform with blues legends Son House and Bukka White, British great Jo Anne Kelly, and fingerstyle wizard John Fahey. During this time he studied at the Juilliard School and took private lessons with jazz great Lennie Tristano.
Since then, Mann has pursued a rich and diverse career that has included playing with jazz guitarist Attila Zoller, accompanying songwriter Dory Previn, giving guitar lessons to recording artist Paul Simon, performing in over fifteen countries, recording 1 albums ranging from 1994's Stories to 2008's Road Trip, as well as many collaborations including blues legends Son House, Bukka White, and John Cephas. Acknowledging his artistry, the C. F. Martin Guitar company has recently released the Woody Mann signature model guitar.
His reach as a teacher, producer, and writer has been just as sweeping. He has been a faculty member at the New School in New York; conducted workshops and master classes throughout the world; founded International Guitar Seminars and Acoustic Sessions; and schooled countless guitarists through his many instructional books and DVDs, including The Art of Acoustic Blues Guitar DVD series, The Complete Robert Johnson, The Anthology of the Blues, The Blues Fakebook, and Lisboa: The Guitar of Woody Mann, a collection of his original compositions.
Mann has not forgotten those early lessons in the Rev. Davis's living room, or the jazz traditions that were his wellspring. He has since become one of the world's most renowned guitar masters, updating the past with his own contemporary improvisational style.
Acoustic Guitar wrote, "Mann has absorbed so many guitar styles that he can change moods on a dime, weaving lyrical single string lines and chord harmonies that can take his tunes across the musical divides between genres." And, from a critic in the Times (UK), "Don't miss a chance to see him; you are unlikely to hear anything—or anyone—better in the fields that Mann has chosen to master."