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Shawn Purcell

 Dr. Shawn Purcell, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a jazz guitarist, educator, arranger, and composer in the Washington DC region. Purcell has shared the stage, recorded with, and/or toured with Pat Bianchi, Terell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, Brian Charette, Regina Carter, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Eddie Daniels, Chris Potter, Steve Allee, Jason Tiemann and many others. He has performed at jazz clubs and festivals nationally and internationally including: Blues Alley, Smalls, The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Jazz Factory, Club Bonafide, JazzB (Sao Paulo), DC Jazz Fest, JEN, PASIC, IAJE, Savannah Jazz Festival and Indy Jazz Fest.


Purcell can be heard on nearly 40 recordings including Chip McNeill’s The Whirl, Steve Fidyk’s Heads Up! and Allied Forces, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra’s Prime Time, featuring Doc Severinsen, Darden Purcell’s Easy Living and Where the Blue Begins, The Capitol Bones’ The Beat Goes On, Ben Patterson’s Push the Limits, and Ben Patterson Jazz Orchestra’s Vital Frequencies featuring Chris Potter. Symmetricity, Purcell’s first recording as a leader, was released in 2019 on Armored Records. As a leader and sideman, stay tuned for new releases from The String Queens, The Capitol Bones, Mike Tomaro Big Band, The Ben Patterson Group, The Way of the Groove, (Origin Records) and Shawn Purcell 180, Purcell’s 2nd release as a leader and debut release on Origin Records.


Purcell has spent over 18 years as a member of the military big bands in Washington DC. From 1996-2004, Purcell was the guitarist in the US Air Force jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note. During his time with “The Note,” Purcell performed throughout the world including England, Germany, Turkey, Luxembourg, The Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain. He is currently the guitarist with the Washington DC based US Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble.


As an educator, Purcell currently serves as adjunct professor of jazz guitar and jazz arranging at George Mason University. He has served on the jazz faculty at Towson University, Middle Tennessee State University, and was a Visiting Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, under the direction of David Baker. He has led master classes at major universities throughout the country. He has served on the faculty for The National Jazz Workshop, Maryland Summer Jazz Camp and The National Guitar Workshop. Purcell has also penned educational articles for Jazz Guitar Life, Premier Guitar and DownBeat Magazine. Purcell earned a BS from Duquesne University, an MA in Music from Middle Tennessee State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



"I can't find the words that convey the feelings that emerge from the presence of a great player. It happens once in a while and now is one of those times..." - Pat Martino


"...SLAMMIN' record! Sounds fantastic..." - Sean Jones


“On this recording, Shawn has found a unique blend of what makes jazz, jazz. While it is firmly rooted in the best of the organ trio jazz sound, the music points to what is possible. Filled with modern and interesting harmonies and melodies, the music never loses the human touch. This is

rare indeed. Music that you can feel and music that engages the mind that is just plain enjoyable. All three musicians play great solos but it is Shawn, through his compositions and modern approach that sets the tone. If you are a musician, there is a lot to enjoy and contemplate on this recording. If you are a jazz lover, you will be right at home with music that is warm and swings. I enjoyed the journey through this beautiful musical landscape. Shawn and crew have created a rich expression of creative and warm music. Well done.”

- Rodney Jones