Brad Shepik Quartet: Across The Way (2011)
Shepik wrote most of Across The Way's tunes while he was on the road, where he teamed up with vibraphonist Tom Beckham, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Mark Guiliana to form his first quartet. The musicians respond to his every need, the empathy between them electric, as they pick up and advance ideas to illuminate the spirit of the compositions.
The music has several influences, into which Shepik breathes his own affirmations. The acoustic intro to the title track underscores his open, linear approach. His use of space is judicious, as he lets the others come in and, in doing so, allow the song to blossom. The sensibility of the composition undergoes a change as the tempo surges and the electric guitar cuts a deeper swath. Time has been probed and altered to spin an enticing web.
"German Taco" is a sunny, playful tune. Shepik grabs the concept and lets the melody billow in a run of crystalline notes. His perception is acute, and he bends emphasis almost imperceptibly. Beckham is the perfect cohort as he saturates the melody, dancing on the notes and broadening the appeal. A crisp rhythm section adds to the impact and makes this a standout.
The closing "Train Home" is largely introspective. The mellow mood and the repeated motifs create a hypnotic aura, and with the introduction of a discernible and compelling melody the seduction is complete.
Shepik has crafted a rich sonic palette of creative brilliance.
Track Listing: Across the Way; Down the Hill; Xylo; Garden; German Taco; Marburg; Transfer; Pfaffenhofen; Mambo Terni; Your Egg Roll; Train Home.
Personnel: Brad Shepik: guitar; Tom Beckham: vibraphone; Jorge Roeder: acoustic bass; Mark Guiliana: drums.
Record Label: Songlines Recordings
Style: Modern Jazz