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(Published: January 19, 2011)

New Songlines CD Introduces Guitarist's First Jazz Quartet

Guitarist Brad Shepik, whose 2009 Songlines release, Human Activity Suite, was lauded as "absorbingly eclectic" by the New York Times, and "...as beautiful and architecturally impressive as the continental movements..." by Jazz Times, will celebrate the release of a new CD, Across the Way, with a show at the 55 Bar on February 9.

Across the Way is the guitarist's sixth release for Songlines and, for the first time, features Shepik performing with a quartet after having led, or co-led, several trios. Joining him on Across the Way, and at the CD's release show at the 55 Bar, are vibes player Tom Beckham, drummer Mark Giuliana, and bassist Jorge Roeder

This new quartet embodies a fresh approach to the jazz mainstream, one that can incorporate, for example, West African, rock/funk, and folk/minimalist feels. Shepik says that the quartet format offers "room to stretch out as a soloist and also sonically within the sounds of each instrument. The music I've been writing lately is less specialized than things I composed for groups like BABKAS and Pachora. We're improvising just as freely in this group but with different materials and maybe in a more subtle way.

The Brad Shepik Quartet will perform two shows at the 55 Bar on February 9, at 10 and 11:30 PM. Tickets are $15, and will include a copy of Across the Way.


Since arriving in New York in 1990, Shepik has been involved in several bands, including Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio, Matt Darriau's Paradox Trio, Pachora w/Chris Speed, Jim Black and Skuli Sverrisson, and BABKAS. He has also performed with Carla Bley's Escalator Over the Hill, Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra and toured and recorded with Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band for 5 years. Concurrently, the guitarist extended his interest in world music idioms by performing and recording in such groups as Yuri Yunakov's Bulgarian Wedding Band and Simon Shaheen's Quantara. Shepik's first two records as a leader, The Loan and The Well, were praised for their marriage of world music styles and jazz.

Shepik also co-led two world music tinged trios; "Triduga" with accordionist Yuri Lemeshev and Tony Scherr on bass balalaika, and "Lingua Franca" with Peter Epstein and Matt Kilmer. In 2000 Shepik began re-examining the traditional guitar/bass/drums format with drummer Tom Rainey and bassist Scott Colley. They recorded two CDs, Drip and Short Trip, both of which were critically acclaimed and featured on NPR.

Shepik's next project was an organ trio with Gary Versace and drummer Tom Rainey. The band performed at prestigious festivals across Europe and North America including the North Sea Jazz Festival. Their release Places You Go received a 4 star review in Downbeat and appeared on several "Best CD's of 2007" lists.

In 2009 Shepik released the ambitious and world-influenced Human Activity Suite, a 10 movement work about climate change featuring Shepik on guitars, sax and tambura, Ralph Alessi(trumpet), Gary Versace (piano, organ, accordion), Drew Gress (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums). Allaboutjazz.com called the CD "downright orchestral" and it was featured on several Best of 2009 lists.

Shepik continues to perform in trio settings with bass or organ and drums. Brad also continues to tour with drummer Joey Baron's Killer Joey, oudist/violinist Simon Shaheen, George Schuller's Circle Wide, Matt Darriau's Paradox Trio, Arthur Kell Quartet, Combo Nuvo and others.

In addition to performing with his own groups across Europe and North America, Brad Shepik has performed and/or recorded with Paul Motian, Joey Baron, Bob Brookmeyer, Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Dave Douglas as well as oud/violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen, and Bulgarian saxophone legend Yuri Yunakov.

More Information: http://www.songlines.com

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