Jake Schepps has made a name for himself as a banjo renaissance man, an artist with not only an adroit touch on his instrument but an intrepid, imaginative vision for contemporary string band music. While deeply rooted in traditional and progressive bluegrass styles, it's his insatiable curiosity and open spirit that have brought him to the exciting frontier of new acoustic music.
A champion of the myriad possibilities of the string band, Jake is an ingenious arranger and performer of decidedly non-bluegrass material, a reputation that has evolved and deepened over the course of three critically-acclaimed and award-winning albums — the jazz-inflected Ten Thousand Leaves (2007), An Evening in the Village: The Music of Béla Bartok (2011) and Entwined (2015), which is a collection long-form works by contemporary classical composers written for the 5-piece string band. This exploration continues today with his innovative online music subscription Round Window Radio, a monthly download of adventurous string band music (such as Brazilian choro, bluegrass, classical, and swing) with banjo tablature, sheet music, and detailed liner notes.
As a bandleader, his groups the Expedition Quartet, the Jake Schepps Quintet, and Round Window have performed around the country and abroad, playing festivals, concert halls, jazz clubs, and even an esteemed NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
Jake is a skilled and conscientious educator, having taught at British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, NimbleFingers, Berklee College of Music, University of Northern Colorado, and produced an instructional DVD "Modern Banjo Ideas & Techniques." After years of interviewing some of the world's greatest banjo players for Banjo Newsletter and attending workshops in a spectrum of musical styles (the Banff Centre's Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, the Centrum's Choro Workshop, and most recently the Silk Road Ensemble's Global Musician Workshop), Jake has garnered many perspectives on approaches to music. This breadth of styles and philosophies have worked their way into Jake's teaching and his open-minded approach to music.