Moment of Clarity – Paul Shaw Quintet

Moment of Clarity – Paul Shaw Quintet

Label: Summit Records

Release date: March 2020

Catalog number: 763

Tracks:

> 01 Heartland
comp: Paul Shaw
> 02 Shapeshifter
comp: Paul Shaw
> 03 Song for Everyone
comp: Paul Shaw
> 04 Mary Oliver
comp: Paul Shaw
> 05 Peekaboo
comp: Paul Shaw
> 06 Moment of Clarity
comp: Paul Shaw
> 07 Showdown
comp: Paul Shaw

In addition to playing percussion and drum set with the United States Air Force Falconaires big band, he has co-led the jazz quintet, Inside Out, since 2000. He was a member of the Atlanta based quartet, The Swing Association, voted best jazz group in Atlanta during Paul’s tenure. Paul has also played with jazz notables as diverse as Rufus Reid, Bill Watrous, Tom Coster, Johnny O’Neal, Jacques Lesure, Donald Harrison, Jiggs Whigham, Oscar Brown Jr., and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

As an Air Force drummer, Paul’s pop credits include performances or recordings with Amy Grant & Vince Gill, CeCe & BeBe Winans, Nashville based Christ Church Choir, Lee Greenwood, Wynonna Judd, Mark Anthony, Celine Dion, and Blues Traveler. He has performed with country session greats Tom Morell, John Hughey, Herby Wallace, and the great Johnny Hiland. Paul taught jazz ensemble, private lessons, and composed for the drum & bugle corps at the United States Air Force Academy. Paul and his wife, Melanie, formed the singer/songwriter duo Acoustic Station 12 years ago and he has written music and lyrics for over 60 of their songs. He is currently pursuing doctoral work, teaching privately, and performing in the New York City area.

ALEX SIPIAGIN: TRUMPET
BRAD SHEPIK: GUITAR
GARY VERSACE: PIANO
DREW GRESS: ACOUSTIC BASS
PAUL SHAW: DRUMS

All compositions by Paul Shaw

 

REVIEW:

PAUL SHAW QUINTET/Moment of Clarity:  A long standing MVP drummer finally grabs the spotlight for himself and rounds up a crew of downtown all stars to bring it all to life.  Solid sitting down jazz with some swing at it’s core, this bunch knows what it sounds and feels like in an after hours club and bring that freedom to your ear buds by the truck load.  Tasty stuff for that want their jazz to have a serious edge, this set hits it out of the park.

-Chris Spector for MIDWEST RECORD

 

REVIEW:

Drummer Paul Shaw, best known as a reliable sideman in groups large and small, strides into the spotlight with panache as leader of his own quintet, having written every number on Moment of Clarity and entrusted them to the capable hands and singular talents of his earnest colleagues. He also gives those teammates ample space to shine, confining himself for the most part to timekeeping duties, which he carries out with adeptness and assurance. 

As a composer, Shaw is competent albeit somewhat short of unique. Among his seven essays, those that resonate most conspicuously are “Shapeshifter,” “Peekaboo” and “Showdown,” but perhaps that is because they generate relatively more heat and energy than the others. The mid-tempo “Shapeshifter” embodies bracing solos by Shaw, pianist Gary Versace and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, while the well-grooved “Peekaboo” (with its fleeting allusion to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”) has Shaw trading four-bar broadsides with his sidekicks and soloing smartly on the heels of perceptive statements by Sipiagin, Versace, bassist Drew Gress and guitarist Brad Shepik. Versace’s lively piano introduces “Showdown,” which ends the session on a soulful note underscored by ardent solos all round. 

The temper elsewhere is more subdued, from the laid-back opener, “Heartland,” through the meditative “Song for Everyone” (with Gress lending added color on arco bass), the melodic “Mary Oliver” and the luminous “Moment of Clarity,” each of which has its moments of pleasure and charm. Versace is an especially engaging soloist, with Sipiagin and Shepik nipping at his heels while Gress and Shaw preside over the rhythmic component. Shaw earns respectable marks for his compositions, even stronger endorsement for his choice of sidemen whose resilience helps raise Moment of Clarity above the ordinary. 

-Jack Bowers for AllAboutJazz.com

 

REVIEW:

For those not in the know, and in addition to playing percussion and drum set with the United States Air Force Falconaires big band, veteran drummer Paul Shaw has co-led the jazz quintet, Inside Out, since 2000.

He was also a member of the Atlanta based quartet, The Swing Association, voted best jazz group in Atlanta during Paul’s tenure and has played with jazz notables as diverse as Rufus Reid, Bill Watrous, Tom Coster, Johnny O’Neal, Jacques Lesure, Donald Harrison, Jiggs Whigham, Oscar Brown Jr., and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

As an Air Force drummer, Paul’s pop credits include performances or recordings with Amy Grant and Vince Gill, CeCe and BeBe Winans, Nashville based Christ Church Choir, Lee Greenwood, Wynonna Judd, Mark Anthony, Celine Dion, and Blues Traveler.

He has also performed with country session greats Tom Morell, John Hughey, Herby Wallace, and the great Johnny Hiland. Furthermore, Paul taught jazz ensemble, private lessons, and composed for the drum & bugle corps at the United States Air Force Academy.

Paul and his wife, Melanie, formed the singer/songwriter duo Acoustic Station 12 years ago and he has written music and lyrics for over 60 of their songs.

He is currently pursuing doctoral work, teaching privately, and performing in the New York City area, but only after releasing his debut solo recording, the quite brilliantly upbeat Moment Of Clarity (out March 13th, 2020 via Summit Records).

1. ‘Heartland’
2. ‘Shapeshifter’
3. ‘Song For Everyone’
4. ‘Mary Oliver’
5. ‘Peekaboo’
6. ‘Moment Of Clarity’
7. ‘Showdown’

Featuring Paul on drums, Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Brad Shepik on guitar, Gary Versace on piano, and Drew Gress on acoustic bass, the album begins with the soulful, dulcet and yet at all times invoking ‘Heartland,’ and backs that up seamlessly with the developing stature of ‘Shapeshifter’ and then the pleasantly methodical ‘Song For Everyone.’

In keeping in tune with those rhythmic evolutions, Paul then brings us the quietly playful ‘Mary Oliver,’ which he follows by turning up the tempo a wee bit on the finger-snappin’ ‘Peekaboo.’

The album then rounds out with the cultured, yet faintly sterner approach of the title track, ‘Moment Of Clarity,’ and then comes to a close on the funky trumpet-driven ‘Showdown.’

-Anne Carlini for Exclusive Magazine

 

REVIEW:

Veteran drummer Paul Shaw brings a fascinating history to his debut as a leader, which, considering its expansive array of moods and melodic, harmonic and rhythmic scope, should rightfully been titled, “Moments of Clarity,” plural.

After years of playing with jazz orchestras in the Marines and Air Force, he built a resume keeping time and groove behind everyone from Nnenna Freelon and Lizz Wright to Steve Nelson, Johnny O’Neal and Bill Watrous. He also co-leads Inside Out and has worked with The Swing Association, voted Best Jazz Group in Atlanta.

He brings all of that experience and rhythmic diversity to the forefront on the current seven-track showcase of compositional and performance diversity. The mark of a great leader is always getting the best performances out of his ensemble.

While keeping all sorts of hipster-cool time (from the buoyant strut of “Showdown” to the subtle hypnotic locomotive thrust behind the seductive, soul searching ballad “Song For Everyone”), he proves himself to be a master of unselfishness, hanging back while his vibrant cohorts (trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, guitarist Brad Shepik, pianist Gary Versace and acoustic bassist Drew Gress) can go to town carrying Shaw’s infectious yet often impressionistic melodic through lines and soloing both boisterously and sensitively, depending on what the mood of the tune and arrangement calls for.

-Jonathan Wildran for JWVibe.com

 

REVIEW:

Highly inventive jazz creativity Paul Shaw Quintet – MOMENT OF CLARITY:  Paul is one of the HOTTEST jazz drummers on the scene today, and his debut as a leader on this album is crisp, clear and upbeat all the way…

… in addition to Paul’s highly talented drum work, you’ll also hear Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Brad Shepik’s guitar, Gary Versace on piano and Drew Gress doing acoustic bass… on tunes like the down & funky “Peekaboo”, you’ll thrill to the bluesy riffs through the entire 9:17… I certainly did – and this one (instantly) earned a slot on my iPhone player (which doesn’t happen all that often)!

The opening track alone, Paul’s original “Heartland”, makes the album worth the purchase.. some splendid guitar leads from Brad, and very pleasant trumpet from Alex all combine to make it a tune that I predict jazz DJ’s ’round the globe will be spinning constantly.

My choice for personal favorite of the seven (long) songs offered up for your jazz joy is the rousing closer, “Showdown”… this is definitely one of the most exciting new jazz tunes I’ve heard (yet) in 2020!

I give Paul and his musical cohorts a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99…

-Dick Metcalf for Contemporary Fusion 

 

REVIEW:

Paul Shaw has made quite an impression as a long time drummer, here he’s also the composer as he brings along an all star cast to help flesh out his debut as a leader. 

“Heartland” starts the listen with guitars, drums and trumpet working together in a firm jazz setting with flowing melodies, and “Shapeshifter” continues the mood with Alex Sipiagin’s trumpet prowess on full display in the playful and rhythmic setting.

Elsewhere, “Mary Oliver” benefits greatly from its reserved nature and Gary Versace’s strategic piano, while “Peekaboo” spends over 9 minutes mesmerizing us with Shaw’s drum acrobatics, Versace’s bright keys and the strong dynamics between trumpet and guitar that takes nods to the blues.

Near the end, the title track makes mood the focus with its precise delivery and dreamy atmosphere, and “Showdown” exits the listen upbeat, dance friendly and with a glorious finish of timeless jazz fun. 

A drummer since the age of 5, Shaw brings an incredible amount of skill and experience to this effort that brings him out from behind the drum kit in an innovative and fascinating execution.

-Takeeffectreviews

 

REVIEW:

Drummer Paul Shaw leads a vintage sounding post bop team with the warm trumpet of Alex Sipiagin, the cool guitar tones of Brad Shepik, lyrical piano with Gary Versace and the bopping bass of Drew Gress for these drum-penned originals. The team struts through the gliding “Heartland” with some warm Hub tones by Sipiangin on the nimble “Shapeshifter” and bold toe tapper “Moment of Clarity”.  Shepik is clear as glass on “Song For Everyone” and the team flexes their collective biceps like weightlifters at Venice Beach on “Showdown”. Shaw and Gress dig a deep rivulet for Versace on “Mary Oliver” and pulsate long long distance runners on “Peekaboo”. Comfort food for the ears.

-George Harris for Jazz Weekly

 

REVIEW:

Finally there is drummer Paul Shaw who, leading a highly proficient quintet, goes through several phases on this CD. Some pieces play it the mainstream jazz way. Alex Sipiagin’s trumpet and Brad Shepik’s guitar soar high and resonant over a leisurely swinging rhythm on “Heartland” and sound low and cool on the quasi-Brazilian ballad “Mary Oliver.” Then there are the more hybrid sounds of “Shapeshifter” and “Song For Everyone” where Shaw’s drumming and Gary Versace’s piano run constantly in a nervous manner that sounds like some of Radiohead songs. In front of all that, Sipiagin’s trumpet bubbles and soars while bassist Drew Gress bows eloquently.

The group also tries out tense Seventies’ style urban funk on “Peekaboo,” and an old-fashioned head-shaking boogaloo on Showdown.” Sipiagin is in fine form throughout the set, but he is especially powerful vaulting through the brooding vibe of the title track. This is a surprisingly varied set played with sharp precision.

-AllAboutJazz.com

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