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Close Your Eyes

Close Your Eyes

Bob Sheppard

Label: Challenge Records
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917332322
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Catalog number: CR 73323
Releasedate: 23-09-11
[For almost thirty years now] "Bob's unique and singular voice on the saxophone, arguably one of the most important of his generation, has remained a standard of excellence in the current jazz world." says Billy Childs in his linernotes with this cd. he continues: With his new release, Close Your Eyes, Bob is putting on display not only his formidable musicianship as a multi-reed instrumentalist, but also as a composer/arranger. 
  • Bob Sheppard: worldwide multi-woodwind performer, recording artist and jazz musician
  • Sheppard has been a steadfast member of the Billy Childs Ensembles and the Peter Erskine trio for over a decade
  • He has toured with Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs, and brought his diverse talents to more recent performances with James Taylor, Natalie Cole and Queen Latifah
  • And most notably with the legendary Joni Mitchell on her current four-disc set and her 2007 Grammy-winning CD Shine
  • Other distinguished collaborations include Freddie Hubbard, tours and performances with Chick Corea´s ensemble Origin, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Horace Silver, Lyle Mays, Nat Adderly and Toshiko Akiyoshi/Tabackin Big Band
  • A sonically rich interactive jazz experience!
  • Bob's sound is a unique and singular voice on the saxophone, arguably one of the most important of his generation
Going into the recording session for "Close Your Eyes", Sheppard simply wanted to create a sonically rich interactive jazz experience. One of the distinct advantages of dividing his time between his home base of Los Angeles and New York is that he has forged working relationships with the best musicians on both coasts. Anchoring this session is top NYC drummer Antonio Sanchez (renowned for his work with Pat Metheny, among others), who Sheppard met while collaborating with him on the Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Sextet and Michael Brecker´s Quindectet tours. Completing a powerful rhythm section Sheppard chose the young bassist, Gabe Noel, and split the piano and organ duties between longtime friends John Beasley and Alan Pasqua. Other key contributors on this inspired CD are trumpeter Alex Sipiagen, percussionist Walter Rodriguez and guitarist Larry Koonse.

"With his new release, "Close Your Eyes", Bob is putting on display not only his formidable musicianship as a multi-reed instrumentalist, but also as a composer/arranger.  Bob's playing has always struck me as the perfect blend of searching and knowing.  There is always an immediate sense of discovery buoyed by an intimate and thorough mastery of technique and knowledge of history.  This allows him to lead you, the listener, on a journey, which is unpredictable, yet logical.  The same thing is true for his composing and arranging, a fact which is evident on his treatment of Close Your Eyes, with its Hammond B3 organ figure in 5, its ominous bass pedal note, and the loose interplay of Antonio Sanchez and Gabe Noel.  Bob's playing here gives me the impression of a tightrope act balancing between various tonalities vs. bass pedal note, and the hard swinging release of the bridge.  Pasqua is particularly brilliant here with a sparse, economical B3 solo, which interacts beautifully with Sanchez's probing drum set accompaniment." (part of the linernotes, written by Billy Childs)
Over the course of an extraordinarily diverse career that has made him a first call musician in the realms of jazz, pop and the studio worlds, multi-woodwind specialist Bob Sheppard has always let his array of saxophones, flutes and clarinets do the talking. Superstar names highlight his resume, and jazz critics have been raving about him as both a sideman and leader for years, but such praise is simply a byproduct of Sheppard´s years of steady work and dedication to his craft - a tradition that continues on Close Your Eyes, his latest release as an artist and is the debut CD on Challenge Records / BFM.

Sheppard has been a steadfast member of the Billy Childs Ensembles and the Peter Erskine trio for over a decade. Additionally over the years, he has toured with Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs, and brought his diverse talents to more recent performances with James Taylor, Natalie Cole and Queen Latifah and most notably with the legendary Joni Mitchell on her current four-disc set and her 2007 Grammy-winning, Shine. He also played on a live studio video with Mitchell and Herbie Hancock.

Other distinguished collaborations include eight years with Freddie Hubbard, and tours and performances with Chick Corea´s ensemble Origin, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Horace Silver, Lyle Mays, Nat Adderly and Toshiko Akiyoshi/Tabackin Big Band. Some of his more significant recording credits include Scott Henderson, John Beasley, Mark Isham, Otmaro Ruiz, Bill Cunliffe, vocalist Kurt Elling, Marilyn Scott, Michael Franks and Diane Reeves, while including pop icons Steely Dan, Rickie Lee Jones, Rod Stewart, Randy Newman and Stevie Wonder. As part of America´s newest past time you can occasionally catch Sheppard soloing on the hit TV show American Idol.

Bob Sheppard has honed his intuitive personal style through collaborations with this remarkable range of artists as well as playing on over a hundred movie and television soundtracks. Having earned his Master´s from the Eastman School of Music, Sheppard draws upon his diverse musical background delivering musical intellect, commanding technique with a warm inviting sound to every performance.

As a passionate music educator, Sheppard is a part-time faculty member at the USC Thorton School of Music, and frequently a guest clinician at colleges around the country.