Expedition Quartet featuring Jake Schepps
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Expedition Quartet featuring Jake Schepps

Boulder, Colorado, United States | SELF

Boulder, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band Americana Classical


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"More press at www.jakeschepps.com/press"

http://www.jakeschepps.com/press - www.jakeschepps.com/

"...eyebrow-raisingly—indeed shockingly—good"

This album, which one may readily consider as both within and apart from the extraordinarily satisfying newgrass/prog-grass wave, is eyebrow-raisingly—indeed shockingly—good. Jake Schepps plays the 5-string banjo, turning in a marvelous performance both in the rhythm section and as a lead player, but the guy's taste in collaborators may well surpass even his heavily finessed compositional and executory skills. He's assembled a trio behind him, all together monikered The Expedition Quartet, riveting in its dynamics and thoroughly empathic in their lines. Eric Thorin chuggarumps a powerful presence right from the start, bullfrogging his bass duties very akin to a low-strung lazy guitar's, with clever patterns and sidethrown note abbreviations. Ryan Drickey provides a son-of-the-prairie git-fiddle as liquid and mercurial as sun and wind on a plains summer, and Greg Schochet supplies guitar and mando, picking and strumming with brio, complexity, and depth.

As a young'un, I was attracted to the Flatts & Scruggs that could occasionally be caught on TV (Beverly Hillbillies, etc.) not to mention the occasional pickin' 'n grinnin' boys down from Mount Pilot on the Andy Griffith Show, but was always left wanting more in the way of modernity. Buying full LPs of such music was inevitably a matter of settling for too many waaaaay country cuts, the which I wasn't very nuts about. Well, it took quite a while, but lately there's been a rich cavalcade of exactly that sort of desired updated product available and Jake Schepps is 100% on the dime in providing the very best, worthy of being shelved with any genre group one would care to name.

Several of the songs were composed after some of Richard Avedon's photographs collectively entitled In the American West, wherein Schepps matches the intelligence and aesthetics Avedon—in this exercise much like a latterday Edward Weston—imbued his work with. Quintessentially heartland, the Expeditionary Quartet manages to inform the material with a narrative level and eloquence worthy of ECM releases. The banjo often favors a balladic approach, wistful with the lonely expanses of the nation's breadbasket but glowing with light despite that haunting milieu. Even the release's title has literary antecedents, deriving from a 7th century collection of Japanese poems. In the kick-off cut, Schepps reworks an Astor Piazzola tango, and the engineering behind this whole CD is of the highest quality, a museum showcase. In whole, then, Ten Thousand Leaves is a lavish banquet of pensivity, jams, lyrical harmonies, and startlingly modern evolutions of a revered style slowly and muscularly reinventing itself, keeping a very important staple of the American culture not only alive but fresh and compelling. - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange: (F.A.M.E.)

"One of the ten best recordings of 2007....."

From JazzReview.com:

Banjoist Jake Schepps, violin master Ryan Drickey, guitarist Greg Schochet (who also plays mandolin), and string bassist Eric Thorin have combined their estimable talents on one of the ten best recordings of 2007. This is a complete and utter delight. From the airy banjo/violin interplay that informs the opening Astor Piazzolla-penned “Todo Buenos Aires” it is apparent that this is a string band meets jazz session that runs on high octane talent.

Schepps composed the majority of the tunes, with Schochet and Thorin contributing one song each. Guest mandolinist and session producer Matt Flinner is represented by a song, as well. Updating the string band tradition, this superb collection straddles a fence between jazz and bluegrass, both of which are musical schools which require uncommon command of one’s instrument. On this all-instrumental collection, it is glaringly apparent that these are musicians of such talent.

On Flinner’s “The Seagull,” Schepps’ playing is fluid. He treats the banjo in a less percussive manner than most. Mandolin offers gorgeous counterpoint, with violin painting in the empty spaces. “Origami” is an Eastern-flavored piece that allows the principals to stretch on the atmospherically languid and lush tune. The three sections of “In The American West,” based on the similarly titled photographs of Richard Avedon, opens with the lovely “Somerset,” and segues into “Chimayo,” a bit of a trail song that benefits from the mandolin and banjo work. The final section, “Rocky Ford” suggests wide open spaces and perhaps some of that ford to be traversed. The whole of the pieces is stunning.

Schochet’s “Bluegrass Schlepp” has more than a taste of Flatt and Scruggs in it, which is to say it is as much fun as it is instrumentally jaw-dropping. The fiddle here (no longer a violin) is particularly exquisite and clever. Schepp’s follow up, “The Zipper” is fluid and virtuosic. Schepp is in a category of his own. There are tidbits of Bela Fleck in his approach, perhaps, but Schepps is completely his own man. Following Thorin’s sweet “Lodi,” Schepps opens it up for the speed picking of his “The Rise.” The interplay between the stringed instruments is thrilling. On the closing “Cute-Nik,” banjo offers a metronmic pulse over which violin plays a slightly more melodic figure. Simply astounding. - JazzReview.Com


"An Evening in the Village: The Music of Béla Bartók" 2011
"Ten Thousand Leaves" 2007
"Expedition" 2005
Featured as a band on Steve Altermatt's 2008 "Velvet Pictures of Elvis" and Scott Dale's 2007 "Tiny Diamonds."



Adventurous String Band Music: The Expedition Quartet with Jake Schepps has a new album of music by the great Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. While the group is rooted in the stringband tradition, the result is music—and music-making—that is as fresh and exciting to our 21st-century ears as it must have been to Bartók’s first listeners so many decades ago. The premise for this juxtaposition stems from the band’s whole-hearted belief in the traditional bluegrass instruments (banjo, mandolin, guitar, violin, and bass) as a highly versatile and unique ensemble. This instrumentation is as sonorous as a string quartet or jazz piano trio. The Expedition Quartet have all deeply studied folk music, spending years jamming in festival campgrounds and old-time fiddle gatherings, and they bring that element of musicianship and prowess to all genres. And that in turn gives their show a distinctive edge, one that stems from these many years learning folk music, and then playing music in the classical tradition. While this curious dichotomy may seem trite, it casts new light on Bartók’s brilliance, evoking the best of his Eastern European folk music transcriptions, his modernist harmony, and makes for compelling listening.

The Expedition Quartet has performed at venues across the country ranging from bluegrass festivals to jazz clubs to concert halls. Notably, in 2010, EQ performed with the Ars Nova Singers “The Bluegrass Mass,” a 30-minute scored piece for bluegrass band and choir and performed in St. Petersburg, Russia at the 1st Annual Terem Quartet Crossover Competition . Additionally EQ has showcased at Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass (IBMA), and Folk Alliance.

The Expedition Quartet is a partner band of The Steampowered Preservation Society.

Jake Schepps is a banjo renaissance man and the creative force behind the Quartet. Renowned for his intelligent touch on the banjo and imaginative variation on stringband music, Jake was featured on the cover of Banjo Newsletter in July 2008. In addition to music, Jake teaches emergency wilderness medicine around the world.

Fiddler Ryan Drickey is armed with a Masters in Violin Performance and holds the 2007 RockyGrass Fiddle Championship. His indomitable abilities and experience stretch from America to Scandinavia, and traditional fiddle tunes, to jazz, tango, and classical music.

Guitarist Grant Gordy is quickly becoming recognized for pushing and blurring the boundaries of acoustic music in his compositions, his assimilation of jazz influences, and his exceptional facility with his instrument. Grant regularly performs with the David Grisman Quintet and the Canadian Juno Award-winning artist Jayme Stone. Gordy’s eponymous recording Grant Gordy was released in early 2010.

Young Ian Hutchison is one of the busiest bass players in Colorado. Ian graduated magna cum laude from the University of Denver with a jazz performance degree and was awarded a two-week trip to study music in Nagoya, Japan. In 2007 he toured Argentina with the Denver Young Artist’s Orchestra. Ian has performed with many internationally renowned jazz (Javon Jackson and Peter Eldridge) and bluegrass luminaries (Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Tony Trischka).