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Reviews: Brad Shepik Trio: Places You Go

Reviews: 2

Site review by Christine Tham March 8, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is an somewhat unusual jazz trio, consisting of guitar, drums and Hammond organ replacing the acoustic bass. Brad Shepik plays guitar like a blend of John Scofield and Bill Frisell in a mellow mood, accompanied by Gary Versace on the Hammond and Tom Rainey on drums. The songs are all original compositions, and feature a set of mid tempo numbers, interspersed with ballads and slow waltzes.

The influence of Bill Frisell is mostly felt on the slow tracks, particularly "Five and Dime." "Batur" has a rather exotic feel about it, and the piece reminded me somewhat pf Santana during his "Devadip" days. The last track "Tides" sounded a bit free form but other than that most of the songs were fairly "straight ahead."

The guitar sound is fairly clean, with a solid tone and just a hint of flare. The Hammond also comes through reasonably cleanly, sounding neither too murky nor too piercing.

The multichannel mix is 5.0, but closer to 4.0 (I never noticed more than the merest murmurs coming from the front centre channel). The mix is relatively front focused, with the surround channels extending the depth of the soundstage.

All in all a very listenable album. Despite the playing time of almost an hour, I wished it would go on longer.

Review by miguelito54 April 8, 2008 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Describing this type of instrumentation as unusual reveals a severe lack of knowledge of the jazz organ tradition: trios of Hammond-B3 organ, guitar, and drums are as old as the use of the instrument in jazz, going back to Wild Bill Davis (on the swing side) and Jimmy Smith (on the bop side of the music) in the 1950's. The organ's popularity suffered somewhat after the advent of synthesizers and other electric keyboards, but since the 1990's the Hammond B3 organ is on the rise again, with plenty of practioners. Many of the old masters have passed, but a younger generation has taken up the torch successfully: Larry Goldings, Sam Yahel, Bill Heid, Dan Wall, Jim Alfredson, just to name a few - Gary Versace, the organist on the disc here, also deserves mention. Fans of the Larry Goldings Trio will love this disc, for sure - fans of the organ discs of John Abercrombie with Dan Wall just as well. The group here plays a modern style that would sound in place on ECM records, musically; sonically, the recording is much more direct, with almost no room ambiance, which makes the trio sound very direct, but with little spatial depth. I personally would have preferred a slightly brighter sound, especialy from Tom Rainey's drums and cymbals, and a rougher, livelier sound - but this disc seems self-produced, so they probably wanted it that way.
All tunes are Brad Shepik's original compositions, with everything one desires from a modern jazz band: juggling rhythms in odd time signatures, tender ballads, harmonic sophistication ... often a slightly "Western" sound not unlike Bill Frisell's creeps in. For all lovers of modern organ trios, highly recommended.

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