Praised by critics and peers alike for the fluidity, warmth, and expressiveness of his sound, Scott Sherwood was both a lyrical musician and a talented composer. His rich and subtle playing and his sophisticated compositions reach both listeners dedicated to the jazz art form and those who say that they don’t usually like jazz.
MILWAUKEE and TEXAS: Scott was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but did not begin to study guitar seriously until he was a teenager. He initially became fascinated with jazz and improvisation through his father’s record collection. After his family moved to San Antonio,Texas, in his sophomore year of high school, Scott decided to try out for his new school’s jazz band. Despite the fact that he was a fairly new self-taught guitarist, he was enthusiastically accepted into the program. Recognizing a true natural talent, Scott’s band director set him up with local jazz guitarist Johnny Frisco for his first formal lessons in guitar and jazz.
Within a year Scott had captured attention for his performances. While still in high school, he received the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for three consecutive years and was voted IAJE Overall Outstanding Musician at the University of Texas at Arlington Jazz Festival, Kingsville Jazz Festival, and Fiesta Stage Band Festival. He went on to briefly attend the University of Texas at Arlington under two scholarships: the Michael Lorimer Guitar Scholarship and the Jazz Studies Scholarship. Disappointed in the low level of jazz education and guitar he was receiving, Scott decided that, like the players he most admired, he would seek out his education on the bandstand.
BACK TO MILWAUKEE: Returning to Milwaukee to begin his professional playing career, Scott played with the band Kinetic Shower, which during his tenure was nominated by the Wisconsin Music Industry (WAMI) for Jazz Artists of the Year. He was an active player gigging most nights and playing with the area’s best musicians including guitarist Jack Grassel, drummer Terry Smirl (the drummer on his first album), and trombonist/composer Bill Schaefgen. Scott often told the story of being star struck when he got the opportunity to play with Melvin Rhyne, organist to Wes Montgomery. Rhyne encouraged Scott, calling him a “tasty player for a white boy.”
BACK TO TEXAS: In 1990, Scott returned to Texas to further his education at the University of Texas at Austin. While there he earned a Downbeat Magazine Award for Outstanding Performance at the college level. After gigging around Austin, playing festivals such as South by Southwest, as well as concerts and clinics in the United States, Costa Rica, and Scotland, Scott recorded his first album, Siren Song, with drummer Terry Smirl and bass player Harold Miller. Around this time Scott and his wife, Jennifer, decided to move to the East Coast.