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"ARTISTIC SUPERMAN SHAPES UP NICELY" - Bob Sheppard Quartet at Ronnie Scotts, LondonLondon Evening Standard, by Jack Massarik
But what’s most astounding, perhaps, is that Bob Sheppard still has so much more he wants to do. “My career path was a product of taking intertwining roads, never really knowing where they would lead,” he says. “I continue to stay excited about future projects; the notion of slowing down does not appeal to me in the least.”
With a solid list of credentials, and his ability to play numerous instruments—he is virtuosic on all varieties of sax, flute and clarinet—Sheppard is a first-call musician, a valued sideman who could be counted upon to bring fresh ideas to any recording session or live gig. Along the way, his own horizons expanded. “I learned to function in so many environments,” he says. “Learning how to react and relate stylistically, to become a musical mind reader and deliver what’s needed is still fun for me. Certainly it’s a skill that only comes from the experience and the array of gigs I’ve done along the way. The cumulative effect of experience is a priceless education.”
"IMAGINATIVE AND RESOURCEFUL..." - Bob Sheppard Quartet at Bridge Jazz Bar, Edinburgh Herald Frequency, by Rob Adams
One of Sheppard’s most rewarding ongoing involvements has been his work as an educator. For more than a decade he’s been a part-time faculty member at the USC Thornton School of Music and frequently conducts clinics at colleges. Still, he is pragmatic about the role that jazz education plays in the development of a musician.
"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.
Now, says Sheppard, he is fortunate to be in the position of being able to choose how he spends his time—a luxury he’s earned after decades of paying his dues. But, he says, he still hungers for the experiences his craft affords him. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing: the touring, playing with artists that rely upon my creativity and working in the industry,” he says. “I certainly want to do more recording and performing my own music as a leader. I’m planning a new CD and expanding my clinic schedule in addition to developing my teaching concepts on the web. My goal is to bring my ideas to the many interested musicians who are inspired to learn to improvise, developing their saxophone skills and help finding their own voice.”
But, he adds, “At this point in my life, I really want to create and enjoy playing more than ever.”