A lover of the creative forces within jazz music
In addition to being both an attorney and an accountant, throughout his entire life thus far, Rob Shepherd has been obsessed with music, especially jazz. Rob is a proud voting member of the Jazz Journalists Association, a former staff writer for Nextbop and a contributor to Jazz Speaks (the official blog of The Jazz Gallery).
His primary focus for musical writing is on works that do not neatly fit into a particular genre or style. His website, postgenre.org, searches for music that stretches beyond preset boxes. The site has a strong emphasis on jazz, however, for a few reasons. First, historically jazz was the first post-genre musical form as it drew from the diverse influences of the blues, African drumming, and European classical music. Secondly, it continues to be the most expansive type of music (if one must apply labels) as it often pulls from almost every style or culture imaginable.
Rob's contributions to AAJ are primarily reviews of albums he feels particularly drawn to, but may not fit the concept of Postgenre.
Rob also plays a number of musical instruments, focusing primarily on the saxophone. One of his horns includes his self-restored 1920s Buescher C-Melody sax.
My Jazz Story
I can't remember a time I didn't listen to jazz. I grew up in Central Massachusetts listening to WICN's jazz broadcasts- and often also Eric Jackson's Eric in the Evening on WGBH- before bed each night. The first album I ever purchased was a Duke Ellington compilation. In hindsight, it was probably not something most 8 year olds would buy. As I grew older, I played saxophone for a long time, including in various jazz bands. While I no longer play so frequently, I still stay very attached to the music. I have attended hundreds of concerts and have met many amazing musicians over the years. The most memorable performances include those by Ornette Coleman, a number of Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock duets/quartets, Sonny Rollins, Jim Hall, Dave Brubeck, Pharoah Sanders, John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, and John McLaughlin on his final US tour.
My advice to new listeners is that once you find something you like, look into the other music by artists on the song/record and their own work. Many of the recordings I've grown to love over the years I first encountered because I liked the leader's sideperson role on another recording. Another great piece of advice is to always keep an open mind and not expect to understand or even like everything at first. Over the years, the music that ended up most impacting me was that which I didn't hit me at first. Only, time after time of trying to "get it" ultimately opened up my eyes to their brilliance.