Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brad Shepik - Human Activity Suite (Songlines, 2009)

Guitarist and composer Brad Shepik has always taken the long view of jazz both as a leader and a sideman for projects like trumpeter Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio. Combining jazz and world music comes naturally him and that facility is on display on this album. Joining Shepik on this ambitious project are Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Gary Versace on keyboards and accordion, Drew Gress on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. This album is a musical composition of several movements loosely connected along the theme of global warming and climate change. Some of the songs are about the different continents of the earth, and the reactions of the people of that area to the current crisis like "(Blind Spot) North America" and "(By A Foot) Europe." Much of the music found here is very patient and slow developing, with Versace's organ and accordion providing a nice textural bed for Shepik and Alessi to improvise over. The leader has a unique tone on the guitar and takes several fine solos that bob and weave in and out of the ensemble. This is a thoughtful and well considered musical plea for a careful reconsideration of humanity's use of the planet's resources.
Human Activity Suite -

Send comments to: Tim