Jake Schepps & Expedition to premiere new piece

Jake Schepps & ExpeditionColorado banjoist Jake Schepps will be premiering another new classical composition scored for a bluegrass group (banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, bass) on December 6 at the eTown Hall in Boulder, CO. It’s part of a series of four pieces he’s commissioned, all of which will be recorded for a CD release in September 2014.

This untitled piece was commissioned from Matt McBane, a Brooklyn composer. Jake says it runs roughly 25 minutes in length, and that it isn’t yet completely finished. He hasn’t even seen the last two short movements, with rehearsals set to begin on Sunday. Talk about cutting it close!

Working with Jake at the premiere will be Matt Flinner on mandolin, Ross Martin on guitar, Ryan Drickey on violin, and Eric Thorin on bass. After the holidays, they will take the piece on tour, performing in three northeastern cities in January.

The premiere will be recorded and filmed for a documentary about this set of four commissions. Recognizing the lack of classical material either written or easily arranged for a bluegrass band, Schepps has stepped around this boundary by reaching out to composers directly. Last year he premiered Flatiron, a piece from Marc Mellits, which has also been recorded for the CD, and filmed for inclusion in the documentary.

Another piece written for Jake’s ensemble by Gyan Riley will be premiered at some point in the fall of 2014, most likely in New York City. More details on that show are yet to be determined.

The fourth in this commission series is a long-form composition from Matt Flinner, set to be recorded in March.

I guess the bluegrass band isn’t just for bluegrass anymore!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.