One of the modern day pioneers of integrating Balkan music into the progressive jazz vernacular, guitarist Brad Shepik's solo and session career spans a comprehensive panorama. He lingers on the cutting-edge of matters amid collaborations with like-minded artists, such as trumpeter Dave Douglas, reedman Chris Speed and other jazz VIPs. And on this quartet date, Shepik and vibraphonist Tom Beckham impart a jubilant union within more traditional jazz quarters.
Across The Way is a sinuous endeavor, packed with dynamic persuasions that sometimes appear to be light as a feather. On "Your Egg Roll," the soloists navigate through linear themes and intersecting pathways. However, one of the constants here and throughout pertains to the quartet's ability to expand themes. With this piece, Shepik and Beckham dish out a subtle but potent groove, touched with restraint atop the rhythm section's Latin-hued pulse. The guitarist soars, and twirls his notes as the band ups the ante with swift unison choruses and fluently executed passages. Ultimately, the musicians communicate a hearty balance of warmth and a buoyant musicality that envelops the program.
Personnel: Brad Shepik: guitar; Tom Beckham: vibraphone; Jorge Roeder: acoustic bass; Mark Guiliana: drums.