“An album that you will want to pass onto your children”
From the moment you hear Annie Sellick sing the opening lines from Joni Mitchell’s song “Free Man In Paris,” you feel like she is speaking directly to you...and vibraphonist Steve Shapiro and guitarist/harmonica player Pat Bergeson are perfect accomplices during the takeover. Their blend of smooth jazz, country-folk, and a wee bit of swing makes their latest release Backward Compatible an album that you will want to pass onto your children.
"Another winning effort"
The wonderfully eccentric duo of vibist Steve Shapiro and guitarist Pat Bergeson once again teams with sensational vocalist Annie Sellick and stellar sidemen for another winning effort. Sellick channels her inner Peggy Lee on a seductive “My Heart Belongs To Daddy,” sings with gusto on Joni Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris,” swings effortlessly on Jimmy Van Heusen’s “It Could Happen To You” and melts hearts on the mournful lullaby “Hushabye Mountain.” Chet Atkins protege Bergeson wails on his instrumentals “I’ll Take The Soup” and “Swingleberry.” — Bill Milkowski
"Original and fresh"
It’s a real shame this music isn’t more widelyknown because these guys are doing something both original and fresh. Players of uncommon presence and a distinct voice on their respective instruments, leaders Shapiro and Bergeson areboth fine jazz musicians. Bergeson, a student of guitar legend Chet Atkins, sounds like the master with an updated concept and extended technique mapped onto a slyly warped sense of humor. Shapiro has absorbed the playing of all the master malleteers, from Lionel Hampton to Gary Burton to Joe Locke and beyond, and come up with his own very lyrical and dancing approach. Music of very high accomplishment.
"This fresh, unpolished quartet offers an unpretentious date led by an earthy guitarist. On Low Standards, Bergeson and vibist Steve Shapiro lead their low-key band through Latinized classics and lush, leisurely originals with lucid grace.... When they back Sellick on shorter alternating tracks, they ease into overdrive for her insinuating smears and hints of Diana Krall and savvy Carmen McRae snap." — Fred Bouchard
"Unpretentious, straightahead combo"
“This is unpretentious, straightahead combo swing. Shapiro sculpts his solos well... his frequent four-mallet comping doesn't go unappreciated, and neither does the firm, melodic walking of bassist Doug Weiss. Bergeson shines... Perky vocalist Annie Sellick, an original with her own wayof phrasing that allows her tongue-in-cheek personality to emerge.... Shapiro's sharp, but keep your ears on Annie.” — Harvey Siders
"Irresistible and exciting”
“Throughout, the passionate and highly original playing of Shapiro and Bergeson make the music on Backward Compatible consistently irresistible and exciting.”
– Scott Yanow, Jazz Journalist & Author
“Most highly recommended”
"... puts you right in th' mood... It's not just the great recording/production on the album that will make it a (real) KEEPER, it's also the fact that all the players understand how important it is to have "the groove" together!..."End Of The Road" would have served ever so well as the theme for "Twin Peaks"! A really GREAT jazz album that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us."
"..warm and tasteful..."
All Music Guide
"Low Standards ... is not only warm and tasteful, but is filled with the kind of retro-cool in-the-pocket grooves that will have listeners poised for more of Shapiro's triple-threat musicality. Sellick's icy-cool voice and soft-chic approach has that late-night feel that blends conservative with sexy... definitely a winner. Low Standards should boost Shapiro's profile as an accomplished vibraphonist, and will definitely make him a favorite with jazz critics because of his ability to bring well-known jazz standards into a different realm of musical dialogue. This CD is definitely saying something and has the perfect late-night ambience for just chillin', or getting something started with that special person." — Paula Edelstein
With the stylish voice of Annie Sellick, this music moves beyond categorization. Some of it has to do with the rich sound of the vibes and marimba (the latter used to great effect on "My Heart Belongs To Daddy", some to Bergeson's fluid guitar lines, some to the fine musicians who contribute to the tracks and some to Sellick's "pipes". In such a varied program, one runs the risk of alienating an audience. But this music is so well-played and creative, while still being quite approachable that I can't help but recommend you seeking it out. -Richard Kamins
"Steve Shapiro is a legitimate triple-threat musician."
FIVE STARS *****
"what a charming album! it is modest and unpretentious. but vibraphonist steve shapiro and guitarist pat bergeson raise their inconspicuousness to a new level, creating overlayering group sound, in which they perfectly integrate guest singer annie sellick and saxophonist scott kreitzer--not neo-swing or mainstream or folk-jazz. a little bit of each, but most of all a lot of enjoyment for the listener. these standards are anything but low."
CD Hotlist, June 2005
"On this very fine mixed set of standards and originals, vibraphonist Steve Shapiro and guitarist Pat Bergeson lead a quartet that also includes bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Jeff Williams (with guest appearances by saxophonist Scott Kreitzer and the smolderingly sexy singer Annie Sellick). There's something pleasingly retro about this group's sound -- there's nothing loungey about them, but something will make you think of cocktails anyway. Not sure how that works. Recommended." — Rick Anderson
"Diversity pays dividends"
“Welcome to Low Standards. That comment was not meant to be quizzical. It just goes to show that Steve Shapiro and Pat Bergeson have a sense of humour that blessed them when coming up with a name for their record. That is the only part of the package that is “low”, the music travels a well-described path made all the more definitive by the musicians and the arrangements. Sellick has a supple, pliant expression and Kreitzer has the ability to dig deep and come up with some impassioned permutations....Sellick infers a poignant sadness. And she has a way with standards, never decrying from their innate sensitivity. Diversity pays dividends.”— Jerry D'Souza
The Village Voice
"Annie Sellick has the most pleasing standards voice I've heard in a long time, and she alternates with Scott Kreitzer, who does his vocalizing through a tenor sax." — Tom Hull
“Check it out”
A guitar/vibe duo with a snazzy vocalist and a bunch of A list pals is well crafted formula for a jazz flavored date powered by cool originals and well chosen covers. Not much to say here except check it out. There's a lot of low key professionalism that simply makes it look easy. The kind of comfy recording you want around as a pal, it comes in real handy when you need the mood lightened.
“...professionalism, panache and joy.”
Jazz.com - Track Feature: “I’ll Take The Soup,” from Backward Compatible
The team of vibraphonist Steve Shapiro and Chet Atkins protégé PatBergeson has produced this scorcher of a soon-to-be-standard tune titled "I'll Take the Soup." In their totality they form a seamless flow of musical delight that brings a smile to your face. Fun music played with a sense of real professionalism, panache and joy.
“Competent and skilled”
All Music Guide
Vibraphonist Steve Shapiro and guitarist Pat Bergeson are clearly influenced by people like Gary Burton and Chet Atkins respectively, as they straddle the line between modern contemporary jazz, pop, and country musics. On this, their second CD, the repertoire is a roller coaster ride between the disciplines. It’s a very good musical offering, competent and skilled while acknowledging their influences unapologetically...Shapiro is the most impressive performer here, and would be well served to front his own quartet so we can hear what is clearly a developed personal voice on his instruments. As in the previous recording Low Standards, Shapiro and Bergeson clearly have a sense of self- deprecating humor sorely needed in serious jazz circles. Backward Compatible meets that criterion in many ways.
The Jazz Thing
"vibraphonist steve shapiro--probably known to the "jazz-thing" reader from steely dan's "two against nature"-- has also worked together in the past with nashville guitarist pat bergeson. in "low standards" they have finally said adieu to all excited modernism, and given themselves up to time travel to the cocktail jazz of the 50s. this starts with the cover--which looks like a lounge sampler--and continues with the choice of songs--wes montgomery, duke ellington, henry mancini--up to the feather-light sound itself. only the musicians are from today: over simple drums and bass accompaniment, the young singer annie sellick lifts her soft voice and the tenor saxophonist scott krietzer adds accents. the entirety that emits from the speakers is perfect and so quieting.”
The eclectic New York/Nashville duo of vibist Shapiro and guitarist Bergeson has joined forces with the carmel toned vocals of Annie Sellick to produce an upbeat, clever and optimistic contemporary jazz disc. Good vibes supplied by everyone, particularly Shapiro, who keeps the momentum flowing on this winning release.