Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brad Shepik Quartet - Across the Way (Songlines, 2011)

Guitarist Brad Shepik takes an intimate, chamberish approach on his new album, in collaboration with Tom Beckham on vibraphone, Jorge Roeder on bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. The sound of the vibraphone and subtly amplified guitar is compelling and mysterious (remember the great tracks Grant Green recorded with Bobby Hutcherson?) and blends well with the bass and drums on this album, making for a tasteful and mysterious sound. The title track "Across the Way" opens with a beguiling medium tempo performance, featuring solo space for bass and guitar. "Down the Hill" has a slow and gentle narrative feel, featuring a nice, think sounding bass solo and a shimmering interlude for vibes. "Xylo" builds a quiet dynamism, pivoting around a cool and restrained guitar solo, and then developing a sweet sounding vibe and guitar accent. "German Taco" builds a fast and intricate groove, building an almost Latin feel, with fine collective improvising from the full band. There was a kind of quiet energy that was at work on this album, like potential energy building up and waiting to be released. The tension and release used by the musicians and the memorable compositions kept the music constantly interesting and mysteriously memorable. Hopefully this band will have the opportunity to do some film scoring, because the noirish accents they give to the music would be a great asset to any atmospheric movie. Across the Way - amazon.com

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