Musician First Class 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, MU1 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.
MU1 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 has shared the stage with many of the world’s top jazz artists including The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, Afro-Bop Alliance, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Dana Hall, Jeanie Bryson, Eddie Daniels, Chuck Redd, Gene Ludwig, Bob Berg, James Moody, Jerry Bergonzi, Pat Coil, and Steve Allee. 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. MU1 Purcell has served on the jazz faculty at Middle Tennessee State University, George Mason University, and Tennessee State University, and was a Visiting Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has also lead master classes at Duquesne University, Brigham Young University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Boise State University, Millikin University, and Texas Tech University. MU1 Purcell has served as a faculty member for The National Guitar Workshop and as a columnist for Jazz Guitar Life and DownBeat magazine. As a composer/arranger, MU1 Purcell’s works have been commissioned by The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Tito Carillo, Joan Hickey, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Chapel Jazz Ensemble, and Texas Tech University Jazz Ensemble I, and are published by Really Good Music, LLC. and 3-2 Music. MU1 Purcell can be heard on over twenty recordings, including Grammy Award-winner, Chip McNeill's CD, The Whirl as well as jazz vocalist, Darden Purcell's CD Easy Living.
From 1996 to 2004, MU1 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” MU1 Purcell performed throughout the United States as well as overseas. International tours included Germany, Turkey, the Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain.
In 2011, MU1 Purcell auditioned and was selected for assignment to the U.S. Naval Academy Band. Following Veterans’ training at RTC, Great Lakes, he reported for duty as guitarist with the “Next Wave” Jazz Ensemble, Superintendent's Combo, wind ensemble, marching band, and ceremonial units.
MU1 Purcell has been awarded the Air Force Good Conduct Medal (2 Awards), Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (2 Awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Navy Expert Pistol Medal.