Concert Review, Kelly Shepherd & NoMad Stories

Over the past three decades, bassist, Paul Brown's free Monday night jazz concerts in Hartford, CT has exposed us to the standard bearers.Think Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, Jackie McLean etal and the new voices, that are grandly holding their own and hinting at things to come. Saxophonist, Kelly Shepherd's quintet falls into that category. Joining,his cohorts, drummer, Andre Jimenez, pianist Willie Jones, Victor Cruz percussion was the irrepressible pulse of the veteran bassist, Cecil McBee. Shepherd's group, played a fiery set of originals balanced out by thoughtful treatments of familiar standards. What stood out was the musical freedom displayed by the saxophonist, echoing some of the pioneering concepts of the sixties and seventies anchored and augmented by his fellow bandmembers. At the core of this was the soulful, resonant touch of bassist McBee. A very imaginative ensemble, it was quite fulfilling their presentation. 

Maurice D. Robertson, Hartford Jazz Society, Jazz Announcer University of Hartford Radio, West Hartford, CT

Continued Successes! Maurice

Living the Life - Sax Man Kelly Shepherd Finds the Beauty of Simplicity
Baltimore City Paper
Review by John Lewis

"It's no wonder that Shepherd's debut disc, THE BEAUTY OF SIMPLICITY (Somerset Records), is dedicated to his mother's memory. Full of imagination, intensity, pathos, and joy--with a bit of trickerism and cross-cultural collision in the
mix-- it exudes a joie de vivre that's rare in jazz these days."

"Like the old-school saxophonists he admires, Shepherd expresses a great deal of emotion with his horn. From the tumultuous "Freedom Call" and the soulful "Talib's Quest" to the hopeful "Prayer for Africa" and the soultry "L.I. Blues", he plays with real feeling. "I really appreciate the vulnerability in the sound," he says of the disc. "It's not perfect, but I want people to hear that there was a baby's cry underneath all of it, a strong cry that wasn't hampered by perfection. I wanted people to hear the rawness and get a real glimpse of who I am." "