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Shawn Purcell

Shawn Purcell is a jazz guitarist, educator, arranger, and composer in the Washington DC region. He has shared the stage, recorded with, or toured with prominent artists, including Terell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, Regina Carter, Chris Potter, Steve Allee, and many others. He has performed at famous jazz clubs and festivals nationally and internationally.

Purcell can be heard on over 30 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.

Purcell has spent over 17 years as a member of the military big bands in Washington DC, including the US Air Force jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note, where he performed throughout the world. 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 studies 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.

Shawn plays a Pat Martino Signature model.

photo courtesy of player


”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. Shawn Purcell has ‘laid it down’ with Symmetricity, a great album! Bravo my friend!” – Pat Martino

“His lines are flowing as he weaves between the harmonic foundation, each idea building into the next in a fluid rhythmic swing feel.” – All About Jazz

“Purcell’s solo is a playful game of chromatic lines and catchy blues riffs, both combining to show his mastery of building a musical improvisation that is filled with the rich sounds of jazz history and modern sensibilities.” – All About Jazz

Shawn Purcell
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