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The First African-American Piano Manufacturer

The First African-American Piano Manufacturer

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At the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in February, one couldn’t help but notice the striking new grand piano on the main stage, emblazoned with the name SHADD. When the many accomplished pianists that wee­­kend sat down to strike those keys, it was equally easy to spot their delight in the instrument.

That piano was the product of a trailblazer in his field. The Shadd in question is jazz drummer Warren Shadd, the first African-American piano manufacturer. That makes him the first large-scale commercial African-American instrument manufacturer, period.

Warren Shadd is a second generation piano technician and third generation musician. He has performed and toured worldwide in every aspect of live and recorded music with hundreds of celebrities. On drums, at the early age of four, he played his first of many jazz concerts, and was proclaimed a child prodigy. From high school through Howard University, Warren performed with numerous icons as listed below. As a piano technician, Warren has tuned, repaired, or rebuilt pianos for countless major performing artists, concert halls, churches, schools, and institutions worldwide. In 2003, Warren founded SHADD Pianos USA, a Piano and Keyboard Manufacturing Company.

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