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Shawn Purcell

Shawn Purcell is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He is a graduate of Duquesne University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Music in Recording Arts and Sciences in 1993.  In 2006, Purcell earned a Master of Arts in Music, with an emphasis in jazz composition and arranging, from Middle Tennessee State University, and in 2011, he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance with a minor in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Purcell is a jazz guitarist, bandleader, arranger, composer, and educator.  He has been active as a featured soloist with small ensembles and jazz big bands, and he has shared the stage with many of the world’s top jazz artists including:  Ingrid Jensen, Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Terell Stafford, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, The Capitol Bones, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Dana Hall, Jeannie Bryson, Eddie Daniels, Bob Berg, James Moody, Jerry Bergonzi as well as many others.  He has performed at jazz clubs and festivals throughout the nation including:  The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Jazz Factory, Blues Alley, IAJE, JEN, PASIC, and Indy Jazz Fest.  Purcell has served on the jazz faculty at Towson University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, and was a Visiting Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington under the direction of David Baker.  He has also led master classes at Duquesne University, Brigham Young University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Boise State University, Millikin University, and Texas Tech University.  He has served on the faculty for The National Jazz Workshop, The National Guitar Workshop and as a columnist for Jazz Guitar Life and DownBeat Magazine.  As a composer/arranger, Purcell’s works have been commissioned by The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Tito Carillo, Joan Hickey, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Chapel Jazz Ensemble, and Texas Tech University Jazz Ensemble I, and are published by Pro Jazz Charts and 3-2 Music.  Shawn can be heard on over twenty recordings, including Grammy Award-winner, Chip McNeill’s CD, The Whirl, U.S. Army “Blues” drummer Steve Fidyk’s “Heads Up!” and “Allied Forces” on Posi-Tone Records, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra’s “Prime Time,” featuring trumpet legend Doc Severinson, and jazz vocalist Darden Purcell’s latest release “Where the Blue Begins” on Armored Records!

From 1996-2004, Purcell was the guitarist in the United States Air Force premier jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note, based in Washington D.C.  During his nearly eight years with “The Note” Purcell performed throughout the United States as well as overseas.  International tours included England, Germany, Turkey, Luxembourg, The Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

In 2011, Purcell became the guitarist with the U.S. Naval Academy Band, Annapolis, MD.  In 2013, Shawn auditioned and won the position as guitarist with the U.S. Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble in Washington D.C.  Purcell also currently serves as adjunct professor of jazz studies (jazz guitar and jazz arranging) at George Mason University.

Click here to download a full Curriculum Vitae.




1. Minor Catastrophe (Purcell) 2005 - Published by Really Good Music, LLC.

2. For Openers (Arr. Purcell) 2008 - Commissioned by Trumpeter Tito Carillo

3. Sequioa (Purcell) 2008 - Published by Really Good Music, LLC.

4. Lady Bird (Arr. Purcell) 2008

5. You Don't Know What Love is (Arr. Purcell) 2008 - Vocal Feature for Darden Purcell

6. Una Patada en los Cojines (Purcell) 2008 - Latin Big Band Chart Published by 3-2 Music Publishing

7. Doin' the Shake (Purcell) 2008 - Published by Really Good Music, LLC.

8. Francesca (Arr. Purcell) 2009 - Commissioned by Pianist Joan Hickey

9. Your Red Wagon (Arr. Purcell) 2009 - Vocal Feature for Darden Purcell

10. It Could Happen to You (Arr. Purcell) 2009

11. Dedicated to You (Arr. Purcell) 2010 - Commissioned by Tom Giampietro for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

12. People Say (Arr. Purcell) 2010 - Commissioned for The Chicago Jazz Ensemble's "New Orleans Now" Concert

13. Just Friends (Arr. Purcell) 2010 - Commissioned by Steve Jones for the Texas Tech University Jazz Ensemble I

14. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Arr. Purcell) 2012 - Vocal Feature for Darden Purcell and US Naval Academy "Next Wave" Jazz Ensemble

15. Might This Be Bop? (Purcell) 2012 - Original Composition/Arrangement for US Naval Academy "Next Wave" Jazz Ensemble

16. Hallelujah, I Love Him So (Arr. Purcell) 2012 - Vocal feature for Darden Purcell, to be sung with the American Festival Pops Orchestra in October 2012!



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