Bob Sheppard delivers an unbeatable performance

Accompanied by a four-man band, the brilliant wood-winded player Bob Sheppard gracefully lifted his familiar saxophone and serenaded the audience into an esoteric world of jazz at the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center on Friday March 4, 2011. Bob Sheppard is a renowned musician known for his special ability of playing the saxophone, flute, and clarinet. He is a first-call musician in jazz, pop, and the studio. His group, Bob Sheppard's Quartet, consists of pianist John Beasley, bassist Jeff Dianzelo, and guitarist Steve Hass.

Sheppard began his musical career at the age of sixteen and shares an incredible wealth of experience when it comes to jazz.

"Bob is the finest sax player in the west coast and I say it without reservation. He is a really marvelous player," said Frederick Fiddmont a Santa Monica College professor, who teaches jazz on the main campus.

Unlike other genres of music, this jazz performance did not use vocals at any time. "We let the instruments do the talking," said Sheppard.

The austere setup of the stage, no special lighting effects or decoration, directed the attention solely to the musicians, which allowed the audience to appreciate the unique sound of their music.

"There's a tune and a structure of the tune. You may not understand it but to us it's like talking to each other. We just know the language. For you it's like walking into a room and not knowing what is going on," said Sheppard.

The musicians, cued by Sheppard, each showcased their instruments in various solos. During their second piece, the solos were so improvised that it seemed as if each member was playing a different song. "Don't worry, there is a common melody somewhere in here," said Sheppard.

To add a more particular sound, the musicians used a variety of rattles including a goat nail rattle, which is made out of real goat nails.

Sheppard shared songs written by well-known artists including composers Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Irving Berlin. He also released an album in November 2010, Close Your Eyes

"You might not understand the language but you can appreciate the sound," said Sheppard.