Bob Sheppard Talks Recording, Practicing, Chick Corea, and More

Interview with Doron Orenstein,

"A household name for saxophonists worldwide, Bob Sheppard has done it all. Superstar names such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Perter Erskine, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and many, many, many legends pack his world-class resume. Splitting his time between Los Angeles, and New York, Bob’s forged working relationships with the best musicians on both coasts."  » listen to podcast interview


"ARTISTIC SUPERMAN SHAPES UP NICELY"  -  Bob Sheppard Quartet at Ronnie Scotts, London
London Evening Standard, by Jack Massarik
July 3, 2002

"Sheppard is a sort of jazz Clark Kent, whose mild manner and bespectacled, studious appearance conceals a super-versatile talent." ...more 

"IMAGINATIVE AND RESOURCEFUL..."  -  Bob Sheppard Quartet at Bridge Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
Herald Frequency, by Rob Adams
June 28, 2002
"Imaginative and resourceful..." ...more

"RARE CHANCE TO SAMPLE BOB'S SAX APPEAL"  -  Bob's career and upcoming performance at the Bridge Jazz Bar in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Evening News, by Pat Quinn
June 26, 2002

"YOU may not have heard of American jazz musician Bob Sheppard but you've almost certainly heard his work. Sheppard has laid his signature sax sound down on more than 100 film and TV soundtracks and his CV reads like a trip to the multiplex... Sheppard has also graced the recordings of a number of pop artists, most notably Rickie Lee Jones, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, and Manhattan Transfer, along with jazz vocalists Marilyn Scott, Dianne Reeves, and Natalie Cole.

"I've arrived at a nice balance in my work," Sheppard says of his prodigious output. "Sometimes it's session work keeping me busy and sometimes it's a road gig." Two years ago he toured with Joni Mitchell and immediately followed that with a stint with Steely Dan."



 "...These jazzbos are fluidly in motion serving up sounds that almost hit you like stories."  Chris Spector, Midwest Record  >>READ MORE


 "...he brings certain qualities to the table that you won't hear from any of his contemporaries... I cannot recommend this album highly enough. You'll hear additional subtleties every time you play it"  Tony Hall, Jazzwise Magazine  >>READ MORE


"Bob Sheppard of Los Angeles is one of the most skilled multireed players in jazz. He is a studio musician, professor, clinician and first-call sideman (Freddie Hubbard, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, James Taylor). Close Your Eyes is a rare project under his own name, and the most complete document to date of his art.
It is polished, sophisticated, intricately organized music..."
 - Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes, March 2012


"One of the top-tier saxophonists of our time, Bob Sheppard is not just one of the finest musicians in Los Angeles; he is a jazz luminary with an international reputation. Close Your Eyes not only brings to the fore Sheppard´s talents as a composer and arranger, but his incredible skills as a multi-woodwind performer. Primarily known for his body of work as a tenor saxophonist, on this brilliant CD, Sheppard is also heard on the soprano saxophone, flute, alto flute, Piccolo, clarinet and bass clarinet. sensational album offering a gritty cutting-edge modern jazz sound sure to resonate with all who are fortunate enough to sample."  - Edward Blanco, eJazzNews, Jan 19, 2012  >>READ MORE


"Hip, cool, spontaneous and vibrant modern jazz at its finest by the incomparable Bob Sheppard."  Rob Young, The Urban Flux, Feb 11, 2012  >>READ MORE


Shepp is carefully economical with his notes leaving enough space in between to punctuate his statements... Sheppard´s lines here are a rare amalgam of blues and cool. He is completely controlled and spare, but always on target."  - Jeff Miriello, Notes on Jazz, February 9, 2011 >> READ MORE


 "'In The Now' is overdue. Bob Sheppard is an accomplished and distinctive multireed player... a suave, sophisticated player, with a seductive suppleness and sheen to his sound on both tenor and soprano saxophones. He approaches every musical idea indirectly, with an oblique sense of understatement."  Thomas Conrad, Downbeat Magazine, Aug 2012, 3 1/2 stars  >>READ MORE


"West coast session reedman Bob Sheppard can be heard on the pop recording of Michael Franks and Madonna, but he has not forsaken the development of his creative chops, as is evident here on his first solo outing. Much thought went into the compositions on this release (six of which are Sheppard originals), for they obviously succeed at exploring a wide range of harmonic and rhythmic ideas-enough to maintain interest throughout and warrant back to back listenings in order to absorb what flew by the first time. When the tunes themselves are this quirky and pleasantly surprising, the solos are like icing on the cake.
Thankfully, to the credit of these players, the improvisational side of this release does not consist of the overly "sweet" and predictable just-what-you'd-expect-to-hear far often solicited from chameleons of the studio scene. A key word here is "extend," not in the sense of the avant-garde (this material covers grooves from straight-ahead to funk), but more in relation to the placement and development of ideas. The trick was to take these ideas and make a cohesive, interesting experience out of them, which Sheppard and his cohorts have duly accomplished.
" James Rozzi , ENTERTAINMENT NEWS & VIEWS, October 4-10, 1991


"Saxophonist Bob Sheppard is a dynamo. His elastic yet disciplined rhythmic finesse evokes the likes of Sonny Rollins. And like another Sonny, the legendary Sonny Stitt, Sheppard sounds right at home whether on soprano, alto or tenor--which is his preferred instrument.

Sheppard--with an L.A. "rep" for his stellar studio work with Madonna, Michael Franks, and Rick Dees' "Late Show" band--is probably best known to jazz fans for his productive associations with Freddie Hubbard, Billy Childs and the Akiyoshi/Tabackin big band.

Here, however, Sheppard takes the limelight with an indelible debut destined to put him in the ranks of fellow tenor titans Michael Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Lovano and Bob Berg. Though the linkage might seem odd, Sheppard plays with an East Coast edge reflecting his childhood roots (Trenton, NJ and Levittown, PA) and, more significantly, his schooling at the Eastman School of Music (yes, he graduated!).

Sheppard, though freely acknowledging a host of influences, has evolved a unique approach. In contrast to his Big Apple brethren, Sheppard uses punctuating spacings a bit more freely. His sound is similarly singular. Along with the Coltrane-derived New York aspect, there are suggestions of the aforementioned Rollins, Joe Henderson, and occasionally in the upper register, Stan Getz.

In a program dominated by originals, Sheppard proves himself an impressive writer. And in fleshing out the challenging repertory, Sheppard gets hand-in-glove support from pianists Billy Childs (a colleague from Hubbard's band) and John Beasely, guitarist Larry Koonse, Bassist Tom Warrington, drummers Peter Erskine and Tom Brechtlein, trombonist Bruce Paulson (on the steely mid-tempo cooker Might as Well Be) and fellow tenorist Bob Lockart (on Eric Gunnison's mysterious yet jaunty Echoes).

In all, an absolutely terrific album by one of the day's finest young talents, saxophonist extraordinaire Bob Sheppard!" - Chuck Berg, JAZZ TIMES September 1991


"Bob Sheppard has been a ubiquitous figure in the L.A. gigging with everyone from Freddie Hubbard to Andy Laverne. Tell Tale Signs puts the reedman in the driver's seat and illustrates his impressive skills as a composer, leader and improvisor. Shep (who plays mostly tenor sax but plays alto on one song and soprano on another-generally goes for the dusky, haunting sound on "Hidden Agenda," "Once Removed," You Betta' Off" and other originals that invites comparisions to Michael Brecker's more "mainstream" side. Shep's accompaniment included John Beasley or Billy Childs on acoustic piano and synthesizers, Larry Koonse on electric guitar, Tom Warrington on acoustic and electric bass and Peter Erskine on drums and percussion." -  Alex Henderson, CASHBOX | INDIEFOCUS, May 18, 1991


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