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Brad Shepik Trio: Places You Go

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The opening riff of “Témoin” sounds deceptively like a blues lick, which tricks the ears into thinking guitarist Brad Shepik talked Tom Rainey (drums) and Gary Versace (Hammond B3) into making a classic organ-trio album. But Rainey’s drum breaks in the melody add an extra beat to this fast waltz and it becomes clear that the sound of Places You Go might be familiar, but it’s not typical.

The guitarist’s past history includes forays into everything from free improv to 20th-century classical and traditional ethnic musics. It might take a few songs to get used to his subdued tone, but Places You Go builds in momentum with each track, leading to the free-wheeling “Tides.” Shepik describes this closer as a tribute to Ornette Coleman and traditional organ trios, which creates a twist of groove and free thinking. Prior to that, “Five and Dime” has the feeling of slow soul and the slow, sustained notes of “Return” sound especially romantic.

Versace avoids the heavy bass and melody duties of his instrument for something more open-ended. This leaves Rainey, who seems to be popping up everywhere these days, in the position of holding everything together as he simultaneously seems to dismantle the rhythmic foundation.