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Taking a cue from his work with the Paradox Trio, guitarist Brad Shepik continues to delve into Balkan and Middle Eastern sounds on this follow-up to 1997's The Loan (also on Songlines). Aiding Shepik are Peter Epstein on alto and soprano saxophones, Skuli Sverrisson on electric bass, Michael Sarin on drums and percussion, and fellow Paradoxer Seido Salifoski on dumbek and percussion. Tracks like "The Flood," "Zephyr," and "Vapor Oro" zip along with head-spinning odd meters and fast unison melodies ' very similar to the Paradox Trio. "The Well" is a little calmer, giving Shepik a chance to display his rich tone on the archtop acoustic. "Quiver of Veils" is calmer still, beginning with a nimble bass intro by Sverrisson. On several tracks Shepik employs the saz, a balkan stringed instrument with a ghostly timbre. But in stark contrast to the unfamiliar sound of the saz, Shepik offers up "Might Could," a multitracked acoustic guitar etude with moments that could be classed as McCartney-esque.
Shepik's got the mind of a pioneer. The rhythmic complexity of his compositions has few parallels in jazz ' or any other genre, for that matter. With all his exotic influences, and all his different axes, he makes us rethink what it means to be a guitarist and a musician. There's no telling where he'll go next.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...