Back to Top

Blues, Jazz & American Roots

About Woody


“This is one of those names that should be uttered only in hushed tones. Not only was he taught by the peerless guitar picker the Rev Gary Davis, but Mann has played with Son House, Bukka White and John Fahey and has studied jazz under the great Lennie Tristano. In between he has also managed to cut some dazzling music, both by himself and in collaboration with performers such as Jo-Ann Kelly and bluesman John Cehpas. 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.”
– The Times ( London)


“ With impeccable tone, gutsy phrasing, beautiful harmonies, and cool dynamics, Mann is in a class by himself.  Phenomenal."  “Stairwell Serenade” CD Voted top ten "Guitar recordings of Destiny" 
Guitar Player Magazine

“Connecting folk and blues, Woody Mann fingerpicks his acoustic guitar with complete assurance on a dozen songs that collectively take your breath away." -Down Beat Magazine  * * * *

.”..Dazzling and technically flawless finger style guitar at its most listenable.  Mann’s wizardry on the fret board is matched by his ability to convey deep feelings with his songs- creating moods that incite, delight, or simply soothe.” "Throughout (the recording), Mann blurs the lines between jazz, blues, classical, and world music creating his own sound in the process. Attempts to categorize his music simply misses the point. This is brilliant playing that demands to be heard." -Sing Out! Magazine


“…This excellent instrumental set from one of the most talented and eclectic finger style guitarists on the scene can be heard, more metaphorically, as a recap of his musical journey. 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…” Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Mann is simply Spellbinding." -Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine


"He has certainly learned from the older players but he is giving back and pushing the boundaries even exceptionally gifted musician." -Blues and Rhythm Magazine


“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...”-Musician Magazine


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 re-creations and his own compositions defy category. If there was a category simply called ‘great music’ Woody’s music would belong there.”  Acknowledging his artistry, the CF Martin guitar company has honored Woody with the recent release of the “Woody Mann” signature model guitar.

Mann received his first musical schooling in the living room of Rev. Gary Davis, the now legendary blues, gospel, and ragtime guitarist. Though Davis died in 1972, his guitar mastery proved to be an indelible influence on his young student and friend. The passion, energy and artistry of Davis’ early work became a lasting touchstone for Mann as he embarked on his own musical journey.

He soon went on to perform with modern day blues musicians John Fahey, British great Jo-Ann Kelly, as well as early masters of the genre, such as Bukka White and Son House. Mann complemented the tutelage of Rev. Davis with formal training at New York’s celebrated Juilliard School. In addition, Mann completed a period of intense study with noted Chicago-born pianist Lennie Tristano, who introduced him to the world of jazz and its infinite possibilities. During this time, Mann’s early musical grounding began to blossom into an improvisational style all his own.

Since then, Mann has pursued a rich and diverse career. He has recorded extensively and performed everywhere from the orchestra pits of Broadway to festivals, clubs and concert stages worldwide. Mann’s 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 City, conducted master classses throughout the world, taught at most of the major USA Guitar Workshops including Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio, founded International Guitar Seminars / Acoustic Sessions Inc, and schooled countless guitarists through his acclaimed books and DVDs including the series “The Art of Acoustic Blues Guitar,” “The Complete Robert Johnson,” “The Blues Fakebook,” and “Lisboa – the Guitar Of Woody Mann,” a collection of his original compositions.  He is presently a visiting artist at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mann has not forgotten those early lessons in the Rev. Davis’ living room, however, or the jazz traditions that were his wellspring. He has since become one of the world’s most renowned guitar masters and song story tellers - updating the past with his own unique contemporary improvisational style.

Woody's website