Born in New York, Woody Mann first studied acoustic guitar with blues guitarist Reverend Gary Davis from 1968-72.From 1973-78, Mann continued private lessons, focusing on improvisation with jazz pianist Lennie Tristano. Meanwhile, Mann received formal instruction at the Juilliard School’s pre-college program, then earned a Bachelor of Arts at Empire State College in 1974, and finally returned to Juilliard to pursue post-baccalaureate studies in music performance and composition from 1975-76. In these early years, Mann played with guitarists John Fahey, Bukka White, Son House, and Joann Kelly.
Mann is a performer, recording artist, instructor, historian, film maker, and businessman. He has toured America, Europe, and Asia. He has performed fifteen times at the Great Britain International Guitar Festival where he is the USA Ambassador to the festival; the Worlds Fair Expo in Lisbon, Portugal; the International Guitar Festival in Tbilisi, the Republic of Georgia; and tours in Japan, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Europe. He hosted and co-produced “On Patriots’ Stage,” concert series in Trenton, NJ, performed at the metropolitan museum as part of the “Guitar heroes” exhibition in 2011,and plays clubs and festivals throughout the world. The CF Martin company has recently issued the Woody Mann signature guitar.
Mann founded International Guitar Seminars, and Acoustic Sessions Inc., and has authored numerous books and DVDs, including “The Blues Fakeboook”, “Anthology of Blues Guitar”, “The Art of Blues guitar DVD series, “Lisboa”, the guitar of Woody Mann”, and the “Complete Blues Guitar Method”. He has developed an innovative online guitar instruction site “woodymannguitarlessons.com” and conducs the “Woody Mann Guitar Seminars” guitar master classes throughout the world. From 1981-2000, he was a faculty member at the New School in New York, teaching jazz improvisation, music theory, and acoustic blues and ragtime guitar. Mann has also taught at guitar workshops and camps in the USA and abroad, including Pugent Sound Guitar Workshop, Port Townsend Blues Festival, Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch, Internationale Workshop in Tuscany, the Universitat Hannover in Hannover, Germany. He is a visiting artist at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1999, Mann established Acoustic Sessions, Inc., a corporation that works in music production for television and film production. He has worked as a consultant for Yazoo Records, RCA Records, acting as a historian and musicologist of early 20th century American music. Mann is the co-producer and musical supervisor on the feature documentary film “Harlem Street Singer,” the story of Reverend Gary Davis. He is based in New York City and continues to tour, record and teach.