“I can’t find the words that convey the feelings that emerge from the presence of a great player. It happens once in a while, and now is one of those times. Shawn Purcell has “layed it down” with Symmetricity, a great album! Bravo my friend!”
- Pat Martino
“With this collection of originals played by a group of great musicians, Shawn Purcell shows his mastery and maturity as player and composer of the highest level. The tunes are varied and very well crafted, and Shawn shows his great range as a guitarist. This is a beautiful collection of musical stories!!”
- Peter Bernstein (June 2019)
Shawn Purcell, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a jazz guitarist, educator, arranger, and composer in the Washington DC region. Purcell has shared the stage, recorded with, and/or toured with top jazz artists including: Terell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, Brian Charette, Steve Fidyk, Dana Hall, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Jeannie Bryson, Eddie Daniels, Chris Potter, Jerry Bergonzi, Steve Allee and many others. He has performed at jazz clubs and festivals throughout the nation including: Blues Alley, Smalls, The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Jazz Factory, Club Bonafide, IAJE, JEN, PASIC, and Indy Jazz Fest.
Purcell can be heard on nearly 30 recordings, including Grammy Award-winner, Chip McNeill’s, The Whirl; Steve Fidyk’s Posi-Tone Records releases Heads Up! and Allied Forces, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra’s Prime Time, featuring trumpeter Doc Severinsen, Darden Purcell’s Easy Living and Where the Blue Begins and Ben Patterson Jazz Orchestra’s Vital Frequencies featuring saxophonist Chris Potter.
Purcell has spent over 15 years as a member of the military big bands in Washington DC. From 1996-2004, Purcell was the guitarist in the US Air Force premier jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note. During his time with “The Note,” Purcell performed throughout the world including England, Germany, Turkey, Luxembourg, The Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Shawn is currently the guitarist with the Washington DC based US Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble.
Symmetricity, Purcell’s first recording as a leader, released on Dallas-based Armored Records, features nine orig-inal compositions and one standard. Featuring a dynamic group of world-class musicians, Symmetricity showcases Purcell’s fluid guitar technique and “take no prisoners” approach to improvisation. He is largely influenced by Pat Martino, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Grant Green, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Pat Metheny and Peter Bernstein. Purcell’s finely-honed compositional style on Symmetricity blends straight ahead jazz with a more modern aesthetic.
As an educator, Purcell currently serves as adjunct professor of jazz studies at George Mason University. He has served on the jazz faculty at Towson University, Middle Tennessee State University, and was a Visiting Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, under the direction of David Baker. He has led master classes at major universities throughout the country. He has served on the faculty for The National Jazz Workshop, Maryland Summer Jazz Camp and The National Guitar Workshop. Purcell has also penned educational articles for Jazz Guitar Life, Premier Guitar and DownBeat Magazine. Purcell earned a Bachelor of Science from Duquesne University, a Master of Arts in Music from Middle Tennessee State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
As a composer/arranger, Purcell’s works have been commissioned by The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Tito Carillo, Joan Hickey, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Texas Tech University and are published by Pro Jazz Charts, Really Good Music, and 3-2 Music. His compositions and arrangements have been performed by The Airmen of Note, US Army Blues, US Navy Band Commodores, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Steve Fidyk Parlour Project, University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band and Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra to name a few.
Guitarist Shawn Purcell strikes a harmonious balance between impressive guitar work and beautifully crafted compositions on Symmetricity, his first release for Armored Records. Joining Purcell on the date is the dynamic rhythm section of pianist Todd Simon, bassist Regan Brough and drummer Stockton Helbing, along with notable performances by guests, vocalist Darden Purcell and tenor saxophonist Luis Hernandez. With his “take no prisoners” approach to improvisation as well as a finely-honed compositional style that blends straight-ahead jazz with a more modern aesthetic, Purcell is a compelling new voice on the jazz scene. With brilliant performances, and an eclectic program of nine original compositions and one cover, Symmetricity is sure to bring enjoyment to music fans everywhere.
“Shawn Purcell is an exciting and fresh addition to the modern Jazz guitar scene. On his new recording “Symmetricity” Shawn shows through his playing and writing he is definitely someone to watch!”
- Dave Stryker (Steeplechase and Strikezone recording artist, Professor of Jazz Guitar/Indiana University, Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff)
"Symmetricity is a really outstanding jazz recording by guitarist Shawn Purcell who I’m sure will be recognized soon as one of the top jazz players in the world.”
-Steve Masakowski (Blue Note recording artist, Astral Project, Coca Cola endowed chair of jazz studies/University of New Orleans)
“Shawn Purcell's first recording under his own name is nothing less that spectacular in both his world-class guitar performing and its compositional merit. I have known Shawn as a stellar performer as a guitarist for quite some time (having recorded with him before) and every time I hear him it is a pure joy! This latest recording, "Symmetricity" is sure to be a sought after recording by all jazz enthusiasts and musicians alike! The playing is amazing and the compositional depth of Shawn's originals is captivating. I hope all of you enjoy the incredible talent displayed by Shawn et al, on “Symmetricity!!”
- Chip McNeill (Maynard Ferguson, Arturo Sandoval, Jazz Division Chair/University of Illinois)
“This debut recording by Shawn Purcell is long overdue. It’s obvious that Shawn has put in his time and this set showcases his fluid and adventurous playing along with a well-honed and personal compositional approach. A thoroughly enjoyable listen!”
- John Hart (Blue Note and Concord Recording Artist, Jack McDuff, Chris Potter, Professor of Jazz Guitar/Miami University)
“Shawn Purcell’s latest musical offering once again confirms his absolute mastery of the guitar, his signature style and the total command of jazz language. His style is personal and engaging with a quiet intensity. Shawn’s brilliance as a composer and guitarist shines masterfully on each of the albums tracks. You will thoroughly enjoy this recording!”
-Steve Allee (Grammy Nominated Steve Allee Big Band, Buddy Rich, Rufus Reid Trio, Noteworthy Records Artist)
“I checked out “Norm’s View” right away. SLAMMIN!! Sounds like Mike Stern meets Brookmeyer! Brilliant man.”
-Steve Wiest (Maynard Ferguson, former director of the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band)
PLAYERS AND INSTRUMENTS:
Shawn Purcell - Guitar
Darden Purcell - Voice (Tracks 4, 10)
Luis Hernandez - Tenor Saxophone (Tracks 1, 5, 10)
Todd Simon - Piano, Hammond C3 (Track 7), Fender Rhodes (Track 10)
Regan Brough - Acoustic Bass (Brough is pronounced “Bruff”)
Stockton Helbing - Drums and Cymbals (Tambourine/Flexatone Track 7)
TRACKS AND TIMES & COMPOSER:
1. SWIRL - 7:36 (SHAWN PURCELL)
2. STEADY COMIN’ AT YA - 7:38 (SHAWN PURCELL)
3. RED VELVET CAKE - 7:14 (SHAWN PURCELL)
4. A BELA (FOR DARDEN) - 6:28 (SHAWN PURCELL)
5. SYMMETRICITY IN THE LINEAR EVOLUTION - 5:06 (SHAWN PURCELL)
6. YOU, AND YOU ALONE - 6:23 (SHAWN PURCELL)
7. MISSED IT BY AN INCH - 6:18 (SHAWN PURCELL)
8. HERE’S THAT RAINY DAY - 6:45 (JIMMY VAN HEUSEN/JOHNNY BURKE)
9. ‘TRANE-ING WHEELS - 5:41 (SHAWN PURCELL)
10. NORM’S VIEW - 8:11 (SHAWN PURCELL)