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> Brad Shepik "Human Activity Suite", SACD

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post 22/06/2009, 10:46
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Brad Shepik "Human Activity Suite" SACD

Brad Shepik "Human Activity Suite" , SACD

Genre: Jazz – Post bop

Гибридный SACD 5.0

Brad Shepik, electric and acoustic guitars, tambura, electric saz
Ralph Alessi, trumpet
Gary Versace, piano, organ, accordion
Drew Gress, bass
Tom Rainey, drums
  1. Lima (South America) 7:04
  2. Blindspot (North America) 9:26
  3. Human Activity 6:59
  4. Stir (Antarctica) 5:23
  5. Not So Far (Australia) 8:30
  6. Current 6:38
  7. Carbonic 5:38
  8. Blue Marble (Africa) 5:52
  9. By a Foot (Europe) 4:25
  10. Waves (Asia) 5:57

    Total time: 65:52

All compositions by Brad Shepik
Produced by Brad Shepik.
Executive Produceer: Tony Reif
Recorded June 14-15, 2008 by Andy Taub at Brooklyn NY, assisted by Ben Liscio.
Mixed end edited September 7-10, 2008 by John Raham at Ogre Studios, Vancouver BC
Mastered by Graemme Brown at Zen Mastering, Vancouver

Songlines Recordings (SGL SA1576-2, 7 74355 15762 6), 2009
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post 22/06/2009, 10:53
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"[Shepik] is pushing the genre forward with his harmonically complex but grounded guitar style and a creative restlessness that has motivated him to absorb elements of rock, free improv, reggae, 20th century classical, as well as traditional music of nearly every stripe....Rich musicality and intelligent grooves...." -

"[He] not only conveys wildly different locales but also the wealth of emotions that surround the getting there and back....Shepik seems guided by the joy of the moment more than anything. And that's a place you won't ever want to leave." - Time Out Chicago

Growing up outside Seattle in the '70s and '80s, Brad Shepik spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking, camping, skiing, fly fishing and sailing. Later, as a New York based guitarist fascinated by traditional world music, he traveled in Bali, Morocco, the middle East, South America, and Europe, experiencing the natural beauty and cultures of those places. Human Activity Suite: Sounding a Response to Climate Change is a personal statement about his concern for our future: "I wanted to connect my musical expression to how I felt about the earth and the environment we are creating for ourselves as a result of how we live. The idea to do that had been brewing in me for a long time." Commissioned by Chamber Music America, the suite was premiered and recorded in New York in June 2008.

Shepik is among the most versatile and distinctive guitarists of his generation, having recorded extensively as a leader and performed and recorded with Joey Baron, Dave Douglas, Carla Bley and Paul Motian. He is equally acclaimed for his work in various styles of world-jazz with groups such as Pachora, Tridruga, the Paradox Trio, Yuri Yunakov's Bulgarian Wedding Band, and his own band the Commuters, as well as with oud and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen. Shepik conceived Human Activity Suite for his current working trio (Places You Go) plus trumpet and bass. The instrumentation offered an expanded palette to develop music that would "take the listener on a journey around the globe, and focus on how these issues affect us as people living on the earth rather than people living in a nation. Instrumental music can't really address this subject in a concrete way, but my hope is that it can provide an opportunity for greater awareness, and that it get echoed from other directions. Humans have to actively and creatively work together to reverse the trend and figure out a way we can live on the planet or perish."

The basic concept was to write a piece for each of the seven continents, and other pieces about factors and effects of climate change such as carbon, desertification, and changing ocean currents. But the suite moves beyond its programmatic framework to embrace Brad's vision of a musical world without borders: "How can one term, 'world music,' cover such a range of human expression in sound? When I use it I'm referring to folk music that is indigenous to a certain area and transmitted through mostly an oral tradition. But I meet musicians and music lovers from different parts of the world who listen to and are informed by everything under the sun.... Ultimately it all gets filtered through my own sensibility. I think we can assume that music is expressing something sub- or beyond verbal, no matter what program we attach to it. And in jazz we improvise, we tell our own story. I tried to set up situations for that, within the context of the individual movements. My musicians are all great improvisers, and they brought the project to life through their creative powers." The result, enhanced by audiophile production, is a recording whose open-hearted beauty, variety, humor and broad stylistic reach is one artist's appeal to engage in global thinking and living.

Interview with Brad Shepik

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With the exception of "Current," "Carbonic" and "Human Activity," each of these tracks was written with a specific continent in mind: South America ("Lima"), North America ("Blindspot"), Antarctica ("Stir"), Australia ("Not So Far"), Africa ("Blue Marble"), Europe ("By a Foot") and Asia ("Waves"). "The goal was to try and use indigenous music from each of the continents," says Shepik. "I listened to Chinese orchestra music, different South American music, music from New Guinea. I used this project as an opportunity to go farther." But noting a detail that has held true throughout his career, he adds: "I filtered it all through my own address in Brooklyn. I can't say whether anything is pure this or pure that, but in the end, I'm interested] in how these musicians improvise. Even though Human Activity Suite is programmatic and has a thematic agenda, that's only one level. There's all this sub-verbal expression going on. I wanted to balance and leave| enough space for everyone to be themselves."

In addition to electric and acoustic guitars, Shepik employs the saz and Bulgarian tambura to vary the sonic dimension of the music, drawing on his deep knowledge of Balkan, Turkish and Mediterranean folk idioms. The octaved saz figures of "Current" impart a doleful mood, setting up a Middle Eastern 13/8 feel (in fact a rhythmic palindrome). "The underlying rhythm reminds me of the motion of water," Shepik says. "Deserts as well — how endless that perspective can be, how the sand moves." With "Stir," he offers, "I thought about the Antarctic ice being infinitely old — this ancient ice that's in motion, melting and moving. I see icebergs breaking apart when I hear this piece."

Versace's instruments, aside from being brilliantly played, lend the music a kinetic sense of texture and tone color, from the leaping accordion lines of "Lima" and "Blue Marble," to the otherworldly organ sounds of "Blindspot," to the resounding acoustic piano of "Not So Far" and "Carbonic," the most explicitly jazz-oriented movements. Shepik crafts astonishing spirals of written melody but also heightens their impact by orchestrating them wisely, with Alessi's angular horn often in the forefront. The volcanic trumpet-guitar lines of "Lima"; the subtle trumpet-bass unisons early on in "Human Activity"; the tambura-trumpet legato phrases that frame Gross's floating improvisation on "Stir"; the dissonance and halting rhythmic pace of "By a Foot"; the raw and distorted electric guitar effects of "Waves": these moments tell us much about Shepik's advanced and imaginative ear.

For Shepik and his colleagues, the long-accepted idea of jazz as an international language is a starting point, a means to a creative end. What Shepik has done with this musical inheritance — with his own groups as well as Pachora, Simon Shaheen, Joey Baron, the Paradox Trio, the Tiny Bell Trio, Lingua Franca, George Schuller's Circle Wide and others— continues to impact the development of jazz guitar and composition in the young 21st century. With Human Activity Suite, we hear the sound of varied strands coming together, a personal statement on the music of the world and the future of society. It's a message not only of urgency and alarm, but also belief in humankind's ability to meet one of the great moral and practical challenges of our time.

David R. Adler
New York, October 2008

Brad Shepik
Human Activity Suite: Sounding a Response to Climate Change

One of the many unfortunate aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign was a tiresome bout of obscurantism on the root cause of global warming. Hopefully, enough people are aware by this point that the cause is clear: human activity.

Halting and reversing the effects of climate change, once the goal of a committed few, is by now a broadly shared concern, People have a way of waking up when scientific consensus shows that the planet's future hangs in the balance. And the solution lies not just with world leaders and captains of industry, but with ordinary citizens of every nation, To remedy harmful human activity, in other words, we need different, better human activity, and we're starting to see it happen.

Music won't solve the problem, but as one of our most elevated mechanisms of communication, it can raise awareness and spur us to action. Few seem better suited to this task than Brad Shepik, an American jazz guitarist who has traveled the globe and learned from a wide array of musical cultures. With Human Activity Suite: Sounding a Response to Climate Change, Shepik extends a long tradition of composers, in jazz and beyond, who have brought social consciousness to bear on their art His absorbing new music for quintet, inspired by the world's physical grandeur as well as its vulnerability, arises in part from his upbringing in  Seattle - "growing  up hiking in the Cascades, being an outdoor person, getting around for years with only a bicycle," he remarks.

It was also the writings of Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse), Alan Weisman (The World Without Us) and David  Quammen (The Song of the Dodo) that impelled  Shepik to create music evoking the continents, the oceans, the fraught interaction of civilization and nature – the sheer mystery, as Shepik pet it, of "where we fit in this universe, on this piece of rock. "

Shepk's previous Songlines effort, Places You Go (2007) featured his trio with Gary Versace, arguably the most important keyboard multi-instrumentalist to emerge in the last decade; and drummer Tom Rainey, a Shepik colleague since the early '90s, whose force and musicality makes him indispensable to groups led by Tim Berne, Mark Helias and countless others. With Human Activity Suite, Shepik expands the working trio lineup to include trumpeter Ralph Alessi and bassist Drew Gress, both major bandleaders in their own right, who bring endless color and rigor to the 10 pieces that make up this session. "I listen to all their records quite often," says Shepik of his formidable supporting cast. "Their judgments and decisions are so right. To have such a strong connection to people who inform my own work is just incredible."

Что поменялось по сравнению с Places You Go. Из трио получился квинтет, причем труба Алесси заметно сдвинула не только звучание, стилистически она очень удачно вписалась в этнические средиземноморские мотивы музыки. Поиск с предыдущего диска сохранился, иногда по-современному могут побежать электро-звуки, но все же орган чаще в фоне, труба явно ярче и темпераментнее. Запись представлена в пространстве гораздо лучше. Уже нет того непонятного чуть больше 4.0. Центр полноценно работает. Что-то из инструментов из стандартного полукольца регулярно уползает в бок-назад, однажды и по кругу закуролесило. Диск опять же не фоновый, но скорее со светлой, не вечерней музыкой.

Музыка – 9
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Многоканальность - 9

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