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Expectation & Experience

by Shawn Maxwell

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Expectation 01:39
J.C. Jones 03:10
Empty Shelf 03:46
Quiet House 04:10
Breathe 02:17
Empty Stage 01:19
Six Hundred 02:39
Lockdown 03:00
Experience 01:24


Expectation & Experience

Seventeen compositions written during a global pandemic. Recorded remotely – thirty musicians, individually, most in their own homes. A lot happened during this year, personally, professionally, nationally, globally. This music represents my thoughts on and reactions to these events: 2020 in hindsight.

Shawn Maxwell alto saxophone | soprano saxophone | clarinet

Side A

1. Expectation (1:39) Stephen Lynerd vibraphone
Celebrating the new year with arrangements and aspirations.

2. J.C. Jones (3:11) Marielle de Rocca Serra violin | Michael Barton bass | Phil Beale drums
For a great man and a good friend, James Calvin Jones, who passed away just before the pandemic took hold. The opening melody is exactly how he laughed; the vibe is what I feel when I hear his name.

3. Empty Shelf (3:46) Collin Clauson keyboards | Tim Seisser bass
In protective gear, dodging other human beings; a trip to the store… only to stare at an empty shelf.

4. Quiet House (4:10) Zvonimir Tot guitar & virtual strings arrangement | Marc Piane bass | Lucas Gillan drums
For Evon House Thompson, a friend who died suddenly in March 2020. A ballad in 3/4 time with sections in 4/4; unique, like Evon.

5. The Great Divide (3:35) Alex Beltran tenor saxophone
The elephant in the room… and the donkey; just when you think they might start working together, you realize they are moving further apart.

6. Feeling Remote (3:39) Kalyan Pathak tabla & drum set
The anxiety and disconnectedness felt by teachers and students embarking upon distance learning – reflected in odd time signatures.

7. Breathe (2:17) Brenda Earle Stokes piano
On seeing the footage of George Floyd’s murder. As the rage subsides, what remains is sorrow and frustration.

8. A Change of Climate (1:07) Paul Abella cajon & tambourine
Meanwhile, unprecedented natural disasters abound, climate protections and agreements are withdrawn.

Side B

9. Alternative Facts (4:18) Howard Levy harmonica | Steven Hashimoto bass | Greg Essig drums
My brain wrestling with information and fabrication… in 5/8 and 6/8.

10. Every Day Is Monday (1:42) Mark Nelson programming & keyboards
Our customary markers of time are absent. The concept of days and weeks becomes obscured.

11. No Peace Without Justice (2:48) John Stafford II voice | Keri Johnsrud voice | Craig Elliot guitar
Inspired by Black Lives Matter protests.

12. The Show Can’t Go On (2:20) Ernie Adams drums
A conversation: USA tour scheduled, Europe and Japan being planned… then cancelled one-by-one due to the pandemic.

13. Empty Stage (1:20)
Closed clubs, shuttered theaters, cancelled festivals. Some will return, some will not.

14. Six Hundred (2:39) Chad McCullough trumpet | William Kurk keyboards | Tom Sharpe drums
1% profiteer and hoard while the masses struggle to buy food and pay rent. I see you’ve been eviscerated; here’s a bandage.

15. Lockdown (3:00) Gina DeGregorio marimba
The enjoyment and the uncertainty – the relaxation and the restlessness - of sheltering at home.

16. The New Abnormal (3:15) Matt Nelson keyboards | Jeremiah Hunt bass | Greg Artry drums
Beginning to fathom the new (ab)normal. Concerts without audience, sports without crowds, meeting at a distance – wearing masks – without hugs or handshakes.

17. Experience (1:25) Stacy McMichael bass
An unexpected and consequential year; lessons we must embrace to improve our world.


released May 21, 2021

Produced by Shawn Maxwell & Nick Eipers
Mixed and Mastered by Nick Eipers at Crann Darach, Chicago, IL
Lacquer Masters cut by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service
Shawn Maxwell recorded by Nick Eipers, assisted by Jackson Orland
Steven Hashimoto and Keri Johnsrud recorded by Nick Eipers at Crann Darach, Chicago, IL
Ernie Adams recorded by Grayson Elliott Taylor at Altgeld Road Studio, Chicago, IL
Tom Sharpe recorded on location by Jeff Elbel, The Happy Club studio, Wheaton, IL
Greg Artry recorded by Dave Miller at Whiskey Point Recording, Chicago, IL
All other musicians recorded themselves

All compositions © Shawn Maxwell
Published by Shawn Maxwell Publishing (BMI)
Shawn Maxwell is a Conn-Selmer Artist and performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones
Shawn Maxwell is a Vandoren Artist - Clinician and performs exclusively on Vandoren reeds, mouthpieces & ligatures
Cover painting ‘Satellite Collab’ by Lewis Achenbach 2021©lewisachenbach/ARS
Photographed by Michael Barton


all rights reserved



Shawn Maxwell Chicago, Illinois

As a composer, recording artist and performer, saxophonist Shawn Maxwell has endeavored to express his own unique voice. From his latest album Millstream (Jazzline, 2020) to his debut Originals (self-released, 2005), he has released nine albums of original compositions. . ... more

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