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A really big Shew at Tacoma Community College

Legen ... wait for it ... dary

Born In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bobby Shew began playing the guitar at the age of 8 and switched to the trumpet at 10.

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This isn't the first time I've received a press release that referred to an artist as "legendary." It's an adjective I've employed myself, to describe Smokey Robinson and other members of the pop music pantheon, but I can honestly say it's not a word I use lightly. A promoter who makes such a claim had better have facts to back it up. I'm happy to report that's the case with Bobby Shew, a jazz trumpeter who played in the Tommy Dorsey band and, a few years later, with drummer Buddy Rich himself.

For 16 years, Shew served as National Trumpet Chairman for the International Association of Jazz Educators. He hosted a weekly TV show (Just Jazz in New Zealand), he's been nominated for a Grammy, and his horn work appeared in such features as Rocky and The Muppet Movie. He tours all over the world, and yes, he is coming to Tacoma for a concert this week. That alone would be big news. But if you're a musician of any genre, instrument or talent level, I have even bigger to report: this is your chance to learn from the best. No, wait, I forgot, here's the biggerest, newsiest news: Bobby Shew will teach you - I said you, my not-yet-legendary friend - live and in person, for free.

Allow me to repeat. That price again: free. Info for the public concert is provided below. If, however, you want the free lesson, show up early for an hour-long master class at 4. It's in the auditorium, Building 2, of Tacoma Community College's primary campus. While the lesson is aimed directly at trumpeters, other musicians are invited to attend for that same low, low price: namely, free. The concert itself costs less than a 3-D movie, especially for patrons who order beforehand by calling the phone number listed below.

This information comes to us courtesy of Rich Wetzel, himself a well-known jazz educator and founder of the Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival. Mr. Wetzel has also played alongside, what's this, the legendary Smokey Robinson. He's also accompanied the Coasters, Natalie Cole, the Four Tops, Wayne Newton, the Platters, the Temptations and other bands too numerous to mention here. Suffice it to say Shew and Wetzel (not to mention Wetzel's outstanding orchestra) bring world-class firepower to the TCC stage. I guess you could say it's a pretty big deal. Gosh, if only there were some more impressive way to describe this situation.

BOBBY SHEW WITH RICH WETZEL'S GROOVIN' HIGHER ORCHESTRA, 7:39 p.m. Monday, April 13, Tacoma Community College, 6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma, $10-$15, 800.838.3006

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