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INTERVIEWS

Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision

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This article was first published at All About Jazz in June 2001. Peter Epstein is one of the brightest saxophonists on the New York scene. Since coming to New York from jny: Portland in 1992, he has recorded with Brad Shepik, Ralph Alessi, and a host of others, on more than 30 albums. He has released three discs as a leader with MA Recordings: a solo saxophone album, and two discs of his quartet with Jamie Saft, Chris ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein Quartet: Polarities

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Polarity, depending on the usage of the word, can reference opposites, the carrying of positive and negative charges, or attraction to a specific point, object, or idea; saxophonist Peter Epstein's Polarities deals with all of that. Epstein, a notable player on the New York scene in the '90s, has kept a lower profile since moving to Nevada, where he now serves as director of the jazz studies program at University of Nevada, Reno. His playing, thankfully, hasn't ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein and Idee Fixe: Abstract Realism

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Abstract Realism is the debut recording for the band Idée Fixe, an experimental ensemble under the leadership of saxophonist Peter Epstein, that has been in existence since 1997. Along with Epstein, the band includes guitarist Andy Barbera, bassist Sam Minaie and drummer Matt Mayhall. Special guests for the disc include bass clarinetist Brian Walsh and saxophonist Gavin Templeton. With minimal ideas as the basis for each track, the music takes on spontaneous group thought with cohesive realizations. As ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein / Brad Shepik / Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca

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Technology and musical development have always seemed to work in tandem. Reel to reel recording made delay effects and multitracking techniques possible. Laptop processing has allowed trumpets to sound like cellos and cellos to sound like Jimi Hendrix. But the most intriguing technological advance for music in recent years has been the introduction of the iPod. Once you have spent a day listening to Balkan folk songs, The White Album and Tower of Power on shuffle, “genre" slowly goes the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein/Brad Shepik/Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca

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Like what's being done by many creative musicians today, including Kenny Wheeler, Bill Frisell, and Brian Blade's Fellowship, the music and approach on Lingua Franca are better described as searching than the more common burning. Peter Epstein, Brad Shepik, and Matt Kilmer trade more in water than fire. This is not a value judgement, just a shift of intent and perspective. Though rooted in the jazz aesthetics of improvisation and group interaction, Lingua Franca is not jazz with a capital ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein/Brad Shepik/Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca

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The term “world music gets bantered around frequently these days, referring (among many other things) to anyone who integrates any kind of ethnic folk music into a larger musical concept. But there's really nothing new about the idea of cross-cultural blends from a jazz perspective. Even before groups like Oregon, guitarist John McLaughlin's Shakti, and ECM artists like saxophonist Jan Garbarek began fusing diverse cultural influences, jazz absorbed Afro-Cuban influences in the late '50s and the popular music of Brazil ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein/Brad Shepik/Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca

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One of the prime factors in assembling this project was that each musician should represent a distinct musical culture. Peter Epstein (saxophones), Brad Shepik (guitar), and Matt Kilmer (percussion) home in and open the doors to a world of fascinating rhythms.

Jazz has often moved across various lands in search of its muse. This outing is made more compelling by the way the musicians bring their instruments to bear on the characteristics of the various genres and give ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein/Brad Shepik/Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca

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The music we call jazz--a broad and ill-defined category--embraces a wide array of sounds. Under the jazz umbrella you find bebop to electronica, ambient to power trio, turntablism to tablas, ferocious saxophones to Balkan folk music. That's a big part of the music's appeal. The art form is not static; it evolves and incorporates everything it hears, and it moves in a million different directions.Lingua Franca, by saxophonist Peter Epstein, guitarist Brad Shepik, and percussionist Matt Kilmer, is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joao Paulo & Peter Epstein: Esquina

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The two-microphone approach MA Records utilizes in this recording by Portuguese pianist Joao Paulo and American Peter Epstein is reminiscent of the large, lush “ECM sound.” Recorded in the Saint George British Anglican Church in Lisbon, Portugal, this richly acoustical, rather large sound environment is a treat for audiophiles. Where the “ECM sound” sometimes comes under the criticism for a cold sterile timbre, MA’s disc resonates an organic radiance.

Paulo is perhaps the Portuguese Keith Jarrett, expressing himself in both ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Epstein Quartet: The Invisible

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Saxophonist Peter Epstein changes sound and form as needed for the different lives he leads. In one prior life he sits in a cathedral alone, playing for the gods (see this month’s review of Solus ), in another he wears a Downtown existence in Jerry Granelli’s Badlands. Then there’s his Portuguese folk/jazz (see review of Almas), Mid-Eastern music with Brad Shepik, then again his ECM chamber jazz work. His ability to morph makes him all things to most people.

His ...