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.
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.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.