Shadowfax was formed in Chicago in 1972 as a blues band by saxophonist Chuck Greenberg, guitarist G.E. Stinson and bassist Phil Maggini. The band took its name from Gandalf's white horse in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." During the 1970s they moved to a style heavily influenced by progressive rock mixed with elements of world music, folk, jazz and even classical chamber music. Their early music was characterized by very strong guitar work and a definite rock edge. Their only release in this style was their debut album, "Watercourse Way", initially released by Passport Records in 1976.
Shadowfax found a wider audience when they signed with Windham Hill Records in 1982. Their self-titled second album featured a softer sound, heavy on jazz and world music influences. It reached number 19 on the Billboard jazz chart. Subsequent Shadowfax albums would reach the top 10 on jazz and new age charts and also chart on the Billboard Hot 200.
Shadowfax won a Grammy Award for the 1988 album "Folk Songs For A Nuclear Village." They also received a Grammy nomination for the 1992 album "Esperanto."
Shadowfax' signature sound was largely built around Chuck Greenberg's lyricon and woodwinds. On September 4, 1995 Greenberg died of a heart attack and the group disbanded.