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Art of Life Records is pleased to welcome guitarist Scott Sherwood and pianist Bob Rodriguez to its roster of recording artists. For their debut release on Art of Life Records, Scott and Bob have composed seven original
compositions of guitar and piano duets recorded and mixed by Kent Heckman at Red Rock Recording in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania on August 30th and 31st, 2007. All tracks have been professionally mastered using
24-bit digital technology.
Jazz guitarist Scott Sherwood has been praised by critics and peers alike for the effortless fluidity, warmth and expressiveness of his sound. An innately melodic musician, his approach to guitar and composition has a
purity and lyricism that is deceptively complex. His playing is rich and subtle, marked by genuine feeling. Sherwood lists responsiveness, empathy and communication as key elements to his musical collaborations as is evident in
his new Art of Life Records release with pianist Bob Rodriguez, "Ripples".
Sherwood was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but did not begin to study guitar seriously until his sophomore year of high school. Sherwood was drawn to the guitar in his early teens. And even more importantly,
he became fascinated with Jazz and improvisation through his father?s record collection. When his family moved to San Antonio, Texas, Sherwood decided to try out for his new high school?s Jazz band, despite the fact that he
was self-taught. He was quickly accepted into the program and, recognizing a true natural talent, his band director set him up with local Jazz guitarist Johnny Frisco for lessons.
Sherwood quickly captured attention for his performances. While in high school, he received the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for three consecutive years and was voted IAJE Overall Outstanding Musician at the University of
Texas at Arlington Jazz Festival, Kingsville Jazz Festival and Fiesta Stage Band Festival. He went on to attend the University of Texas at Arlington under two scholarships: The Michael Lorimer Guitar Scholarship and The Jazz
Returning to Milwaukee to begin his professional career, Sherwood played with the band Kinetic Shower, which during his tenure was nominated by the Wisconsin Music Industry (WAMI) for Jazz artists of the year.
He was an active player in the area gigging most nights and playing with the areas best musicians including guitarist Jack Grassel, drummer Terry Smirl (the drummer on his first album) and trombonist/composer Bill Schaefgen.
In 1990, he returned to Texas to further his education at the University of Texas at Austin. While there he earned a Downbeat Magazine Award for Outstanding Performance at the college level.
After gigging around Austin, playing festivals such as South by Southwest as well as concerts and clinics in the United States, Costa Rica and Scotland and recording his first album "Siren Song", he decided to make the move to
the East Coast. Sherwood landed in Philadelphia where he struck up an ongoing friendship with one of Philadelphia?s Jazz guitar icons, Steve Giordano.
Sherwood finally made the move to New York City in 1998. He had two recordings under his belt and had been studying with guitarist John Abercrombie. He began playing with different area musicians and in 2004 met
pianist Bob Rodriguez. Things took a dark turn in 2005 when Sherwood was diagnosed with Stage II Lymphoma. He endured an aggressive course of chemotherapy which was successful. Today he is healthy and back on the
scene. He is working on a number of different projects and is also a faculty member of Turtle Bay Music School in Manhattan. "Ripples" is his first recording project since his illness.
Critically acclaimed pianist Bob Rodriguez is one of the most distinctively imaginative musicians in contemporary Jazz today. Possessing a refined virtuoso technique, extraordinary harmonic sensibility and an incomparable approach to his instrument that melds aspects of European classical and Latin music with modern Jazz, Rodriguez's performances
and recordings of his own compositions and interpretations of standard material have distinguished him as a truly original pianist with his own tale to tell.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Rodriguez began studying classical piano as a child. At 15, after hearing Teddy Wilson on the radio, he was inspired to write an original blues, revealing a nascent aptitude for composition and
prompting his teacher to send him to his first Jazz instructor, Hank Kahout, an expert on Wilson and Art Tatum, who was a stride piano specialist. Next, he studied privately with Bill Gidney, a bebop pianist who had accompanied
Charlie Parker. Rodriguez studied harmony formally at the Modern Music School of Cleveland with Phil Rizzo (a former Stan Kenton arranger) and twelve tone composition at Baldwin Wallace University. Later, he attended Akron
University, where he spent time analyzing modern classical techniques under the tutelage of Pat Pace, who had written arrangements for Miles Davis.
Rodriguez was an active player on the Cleveland Jazz circuit throughout most of his twenties, but by the mid eighties he was weary of the local scene there and seized an opportunity to move to Houston. There he played Jazz and
latin gigs with his trio, occasionally working with visiting luminaries such as Kenny Wheeler, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Billy Hart, Muhal Richard Abrams, Joe Farrell, Pharoah Sanders and Freddie Hubbard. He was invited to teach
Jazz piano at the prestigious Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and in 1988 he met modern Jazz vocalist Tina Marsh, who engaged him as pianist and composer-in-residence for her forward looking fourteen
piece big band, the Creative Opportunity Orchestra. Rodriguez made his first CD recording with Marsh and the Orchestra on her album "The Heaven Line". He's also recorded with singer and his trio on their co-led disc "Out Of Time".
In 1989 Rodriguez moved to the New York area to study with pianist Richie Beirach, the final step on his road to developing a personal style built on very modern harmony with an exceptionally melodic approach. He performed his
music with the BMI advanced composers workshop and in 1994 recorded his first date as leader, "Mist", now available as an MP3 Digital Download from Art of Life Records. An album of rare beauty, it featured Rodriguez's own
compositions as well as pieces by Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, two of his primary influences. In 1998 he recorded a solo CD, "Reinventions" (available as an MP3 Digital Download from Art of Life Records), that includes two Chopin Preludes that he had arranged for 4 hands (with a guest pianist).
Since his arrival in the Jazz capitol of the world Rodriguez has performed at the Blue Note, Birdland, Cornelia Street Cafe and Trumpets. He played solo concerts at Gracie Mansion and various venues in the tri-state area and
broadcast performances on NPR in Texas, Maine and New York.
In 2005, Rodriguez released his most recent CD, "Corridor" (available as an MP3 Digital Download from Art of Life Records), a much praised masterwork featuring bassist Mike Richmond and drummer Eliot Zigmund. More recently
he's the recipient of a 2007 grant by Chamber Music America to write a piece for Tina Marsh's innovative new 10 piece ensemble aka Creative Opportunity Orchestra. This new piece will be created with support from Chamber Music
America's New Work: Creation and Presentation Program, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In addition to his highly respected work as a performer, Rodriguez is a very much in demand
clinician/instructor in the world of Jazz and classical music education.
A stone thrown on the surface of a tranquil pond creates ripples. The bigger the stone, the bigger the ripples. At first they're violent, turbulent, close together. But then they move more slowly, evenly, serenely. We can't control
them. We can only be carried along.
A stone hit my pond in May of 2005. The ripples, pain, diagnosis, treatment and recovery moving ultimately to acceptance.
I am healthy now. My perspectives on life and music are forever changed. My wish is that this music breaks the surface of your consciousness and ripples across your imagination.
"Ripples" is nothing less than the absolute peak recording of all existing guitar-piano duos in Jazz history, including the legendary recordings of Jim Hall with John Lewis resp. Bill Evans up to the contemporary
John Abercrombie duos with Richie Beirach, Andy LaVerne and Marc Copland. Scott Sherwood is a true master of melodic imagination. No wonder if one knows that he has learned his
distinctive art with masters such as John Abercrombie.
The fifty minute repertoire contains seven tracks with extended play to better express their music. It is quite rare to find a piano-guitar duo in the Jazz world. Typically this type of ensemble would include drums.
This combination is fresh and exciting to the listener. This situation provides a great opportunity for dialog between the two instruments. Sherwood combines the sophistication of Jazz and Classical harmony.
Rodriguez plays very expressively and gives each note meaning particularly in the track "Why Ask Why" where one can hear his fluent movement.
However, he can also play with power and authority. My favorite aspect of this album is the lyrical beauty and the light momentum found in the song "Remembering". I can imagine this track as a film score.
Of course not an action movie. The most energetic tracks are "Why" and "Crosscurrents". The two musicians are finely tuned together and their thinking is in unity.
They work well together and provide a wonderful instrumental sonic atmosphere.