When Pat Martino, Peter Bernstein or Color Jazz Radio praise your work and your guitar playing, you must be one hell of a "Bad Cat"!
"I saw you on YouTube playing Mynabird Blues... you are SMOKING!!!!! Really great!!! Next time you come to New York, let's play some songs!!!"
Another guitarist that we wanted you to discover in the Best of Colors Jazz Week is Shawn Purcell, on the release of "180", his second album as a leader. To be honest, he's one of the best guitarists I've heard in recent years: lively, fast, clear and very musical.
The album opens with the song "Cat and Mouse" and from the first bars we know that Shawn has it under his feet. The title of this piece is rather well representative of what we feel, as if a cat wanted to catch a mouse with all its flexibility and velocity, while mastering its gestures... Almost the entire album is like this: a jazz trio, with the winning formula (when the musicians are good), Hammond C3, drums, jazz guitar, an energetic musical feel, often on fast or quite fast tempos, all on flights of solo virtuosos. We feel that the guitarist drew on his illustrious predecessors to compose the ten tracks on his album. How not to think of "El Hombre" or Pat's famous trio with Joey DeFrancesco, but also Wes Montgomery when he was surrounded by either Melvin Rhyne or Jimmy Smith. The only cover in 180 is a tribute to Johnny Mandel and Bill Evans, with the standard "Time for Love" in which he accompanies his wife Darden Purcell on vocals (also a recognized Jazz teacher). You can also hear the singer on the songs "Chicka D" and "Soul Blue" on which the trombonist joins the band.
Shawn gives us a very smooth, mature guitar sound, with one of the best legato I've ever heard. But what about its accompaniments: precise, incisive, fast and harmonically very rich. It sounds "heavy," according to the accepted expression of the younger generations.
His two other friends, Pat Bianchi on keyboards and Jason Tiemann on drums, answer him brilliantly and also show us the extent of their talents and their influences.
But who is Shawn? Originally from Pittsburgh (a sacred Bad Cats landmark), he is no stranger to the international Jazz scene since he has already participated in dozens of recordings as a sideman and he has also been part of the very select and prestigious Jazz Navy Orchestra . He is also a teacher and lecturer at several prestigious universities, contributes to jazz magazines and above all holds a doctorate in "Jazz Performance" from the University of Illinois. That is to say the man masters his subject.
"180" is a really successful album, all in control, thus perpetuating the great history of the American Jazz guitar. All those who love Jazz will only appreciate this album, and Shawn is from this generation of guitarists to follow... Hoping to see it in France soon. (it's a call to programmers...).