Jake Schepps and his Expedition Quartet have been making waves with their non-traditional approach to both classical and string band music.
As a progressive banjoist, Schepps has the experience of annoying bluegrassers by recording and performing the music of Béla Bartok, while simultaneously irritating hidebound Bartok fans by doing so with a banjo.
But at least he does it with a prewar flathead, so he can always find a home among the banjo faithful!
The Quartet’s next project will be tracked later this year, preserved in both sound and film recording. Jake says that it is a departure for them in several ways, and that he is excited to start working on an original classical work for the bluegrass ensemble.
“We have commissioned composer Marc Mellits to write a piece for 5-piece string band (The Expedition Quartet with Grant Gordy on Guitar, Enion Pelta-Tiller on 5-string violin, Greg Garrison on bass, myself on 5-string banjo, and special guest Matt Flinner on mandolin).
Descant Productions will be following us in the process this summer and fall documenting us rehearsing and premiering the piece, which I believe is the first of it’s kind, that being a contemporary classical work written for this instrumentation by someone outside the string band world.”
Schepps has posted a video of he and the Quartet performing his arrangement of an earlier Mellits’ compositions. The piece is called Exposed Zipper, originally scored for cello, piano and marimba.