Brad Shepik Quartet – Across the Way (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:10:04 minutes | 1,33 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Songlines
With Across The Way, his eighth album as a leader, guitarist Brad Shepik seems to have mellowed with age: while still incorporating elements of Eastern and South Eastern European music cultures typical of earlier projects – many rendered with unusualinstrumentation – this all-original quartet offering sounds ‘mainstream’ by comparison. Supported by vibraphonist Tom Beckham, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Mark Guiliana, Shepik’s compositions feature odd time signatures, shifting key centers, unusual modes and lithe, loping melodies that gently cross the borders of conventional practices but without calling attention to the underlying techniques.
Shepik’s long, lyrical, eighth-note based improvisations seamlessly wend their way through the elaborate structures, creating an illusion of ease, much like the alpha wave inducing music of a jam band. A rhythmic push-and-pull is evident in the group, especially at their album release concert last month at 55Bar, pitching the on-top timing of Roeder and Guiliana against the less tenacious accents of Shepik and Beckham. When Shepik digs into a solo, as he does on “Down the Hill”, “German Taco”, “Marburg” and “Mambo Termi” from the recording, or “Across the Way”, “Xylo” and the outro blowing of “Blue Marble” from the live set, his sharply inflected lines lift the band with understated charisma. Elsewhere, the group’s pulse is freer, less forced, buttressed by the washing tones of Beckham’s vibraphone. In contrast to the relatively restrained ambiance of the album, the quartet took more chances in concert, particularly Guiliana, who overflowed with ideas, unleashing ferocious, constantly evolving beats and finding interesting places to leave out the expected, provoking constant smiles from rhythm-mate Roeder. Shepik’s guitar achieved a bell like clarity in the intimate performance space while Beckham’s lush, rippling phrases came to the fore on numbers like “Garden” and “Blue Marble”.
01. Across the Way
02. Down the Hill
05. German Taco
09. Mambo Terni
10. Your Egg Roll
11. Train Home
Brad Shepik, Guitar
Tom Beckham, Vibraphone
Jorge Roeder, Acoustic Bass
Mark Guiliana, Drums