Woody Shaw, Jr. was born in Laurinburg, N.C. on December 24th, 1944 to Rosalie Pegues Shaw and Woody Shaw, Sr. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and began playing trumpet at the age of 11. Shaw attended Arts High School in Newark where he studied trumpet and music theory with Jerome Ziering. Newark has a rich Jazz history and many notable Jazz artists are originally from there, including Sarah Vaughan, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Gladden, Larry Young, and Grachan Moncur III. His first and perhaps greatest inspiration, in terms of the trumpet, came from listening to Louis Armstrong and, not long after, Clifford Brown.