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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, National Symphony Orchestra 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 BM in Recording Arts & Sciences 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.

"With this collection of originals played by a group of great musicians, Shawn Purcell shows his mastery and maturity as player and composer of the highest level. The tunes are varied and very well crafted, and Shawn shows his great range as a guitarist. This is a beautiful collection of musical stories!!" 

- Peter Bernstein 

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