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Songlines: An Independent Voice for New Music

Read "Songlines: An Independent Voice for New Music" reviewed by Mark Werlin

The independent Vancouver-based record label Songlines Recordings was established in 1992. Inspired by the contemporary jazz music scene in Vancouver, label founder Tony Reif began recording Canadian, American, Dutch, German and French composer-performers. Over the next two decades, the core group of musicians who recorded frequently for Songlines included Benoît Delbecq, Harris Eisenstadt, Gordon Grdina, Wayne Horvitz, Francois Houle, Brad Shepik and Michael Blake. Plot a zig-zag route from Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, to San Francisco and Reno, from New ...

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Brad Shepik / Ron Samworth: Quartet 1991

Read "Quartet 1991" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Tony Reif is calling a mulligan here. Some twenty-five years ago, shortly before he founded and launched the Songlines imprint and long before he was known the world over for his work in the production and promotion of creative music, Reif went into a Seattle studio to produce a recording for a quartet fronted by guitarists Brad Shepik and Ron Samworth. It was the first session he ever helmed, and some intriguing music was created and captured in less-than-ideal circumstances. ...

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Brad Shepik Quartet: Across The Way

Read "Across The Way" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 ...

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Brad Shepik Quartet: Across The Way

Read "Across The Way" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Guitarist Brad Shepik mines a lode of styles on his compositions. Shadow and light play through his music, and he is not averse to opening the door to let a swath of sunshine in. The mood is never static, the wheel of invention is constantly churning out ideas that surprise and delight. Shepik wrote most of Across The Way's tunes while he was on the road, where he teamed up with vibraphonist Tom Beckham, bassist Jorge Roeder and ...

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Brad Shepik Quartet: Across the Way

Read "Across the Way" reviewed by Matt Marshall

The opening strains to Brad Shepik's Across the Way--repeated six-string figures of wistful longing, tending toward melancholy, with strains redolent of Radiohead's OK Computer (Capitol, 1997)--signal that the guitarist is exploring darker, more insular spaces than on his previous effort, Human Activity Suite (Songlines, 2009). To be sure, that work, which takes on global climate change and humanity's active role within the growing disaster, could hardly be labeled trivial or lighthearted. But Shepik's tone and the music as a whole ...

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Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Read "Human Activity Suite" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

In June 2008, Brad Shepik premiered his work Human Activity Suite: Sounding a Response to Climate Change in New York. It was born out of his concern for the environment and the impact of climate change.

Shepik, who is drawn to the music of other countries, wrote one tune for each of the seven continents, augmenting the suite with three more. His compositions soak up the music of various lands, showcasing his adaptation of the folk forms--albeit, as ...

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Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Read "Human Activity Suite" reviewed by Stuart Broomer

Brad Shepik's Human Activity Suite is a ten-part mingling of world music materials from various cultures and ecological concerns. Sponsored by Chamber Music America's New Works program, the project sees guitarist Shepik enlarging his usual trio with Gary Versace on keyboards and Tom Rainey on drums to include trumpeter Ralph Alessi and bassist Drew Gress. The result is downright orchestral; Alessi adding clarion leads to the guitarist's works as Gress thickens the already complex, underlying textures. Seven ...

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Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Read "Human Activity Suite" reviewed by J Hunter

Theoretically, it should be difficult to do protest music without lyrics; nevertheless, that hasn't stopped Terence Blanchard, Ben Allison, and--most recently--Jeff “Tain" Waits from launching heat-seeking discs aimed right at the heart of some of this decade's most sensitive political issues. Now it's guitarist Brad Shepik's turn at bat with Human Activity Suite, only he's done things a little differently.

While Allison's Cowboy Justice (Palmetto, 2006), Blanchard's A Tale of God's Will: Requiem for Katrina (Blue Note, 2007), and Tain's ...

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Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Read "Human Activity Suite" reviewed by Martin Gladu

Deep-blue oceans, airbrushed clouds, flaking dabs of greens receding into desolate plains... Remember the first time you saw a picture of the Earth? Remember that feeling?Did you know one can cover the Earth with one's thumb when standing from the Moon? Defenseless in the pitch-black, still silence of the Universe, our home--at least, that of the time of a few nanoseconds stolen from eternity--now faces more threats from its own inhabitants than from other celestial bodies possibly hitting ...

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Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Read "Human Activity Suite" reviewed by Mark Corroto

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 ...

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Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Read "Human Activity Suite" reviewed by Matt Marshall

Guitarist Brad Shepik has admitted that a strictly musical approach to environmental issues may not be as persuasive as a song that can speak directly to specific problems with its lyrics. Nevertheless, his Human Activity Suite, a series of world music pieces intermixed with pieces highlighting the causes and effects of global climate change, is a powerful call for awareness, unity and action. It inspires with a universal glow rarely touched by song. Commissioned by Chamber Music ...

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Brad Shepik: Human Activity Suite

Read "Human Activity Suite" reviewed by Troy Collins

A powerful indictment of mankind's role in global warming, Human Activity Suite is guitarist Brad Shepik's most expansive and earnest project to date. Global warming is an issue close to Shepik's heart, as explained in a December 2008 interview with Frank A. Matzner.A well-versed world traveler, Shepik has explored many cultural traditions--both on his own albums, and as a member of “world music" collectives such as Babkas, Lingua Franca, Pachora and Triduga, as well as Matt Darriau's Paradox ...


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