230

Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite Social issues are not new to jazz composers. Sonny Rollins and Charles Mingus wrote music in the heyday of the civil right movement and more recently Charlie Haden produced his antiwar Not In Our Name (Verve, 2005) for his Liberation Music Orchestra. Guitarist Brad Shepik, like many of us, is thinking globally. He speaks to the issues of climate change with his Human Activity Suite.

Commissioned by Chamber Music America and funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, he takes in all seven continents, borrowing from indigenous folk music. In the case of Antarctica ("Stir"), he doesn't play penguin music, he constructs, if it is possible, an icy atmosphere plucked over the organ tones of Gary Versace. Perhaps the eeriest and most emotional piece here, its simple melody is also it's most urgent, as the great ice shelves begin to slowly disappear.

Shepik employs a talented bunch to realize his suite. Along with long time collaborators Versace and Tom Rainey, he adds bassist Drew Gress and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. This cast is asked to morph into varying styles and motifs throughout. "Lima" bustles with activity as Versace's accordion paces the trumpet/guitar dance. "Not So Far" and "Carbonic" are the two tunes exhibiting an overtly jazz-related feel in terms of traditional sound. Elsewhere it is possible to identify the music geographically, as with his electric saz playing on the African "Blue Marble" and the references to Chinese orchestra music for "Waves."

But more than playing ethnic music, Shepik opts for a greater global perspective. This recording documents the guitarist's trip around this ever heating planet and his brilliant touch is evident throughout.


Track Listing: Lima (South America); Blindspot (North America); Human Activity; Stir (Antarctica); Not So Far (Australia); Current; Carbonic; Blue Marble (Africa); By a Foot (Europe); Waves (Asia).

Personnel: Brad Shepik: electric and acoustic guitars, tambura, electric saz; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Gary Versace: piano, organ, accordion; Drew Gress: bass; Tom Rainey: drums.

Title: Human Activity Suite | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Tiresia" CD/LP/Track Review Tiresia
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Rímur" CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 15, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Phil Barnes
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "Unnatural  Events" CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.