Originally an East Coaster, Sheppard started his musical journey playing professionally in and around Philadelphia at the age of sixteen. Learning to play many musical styles with every kind of band was common and expected in the fertile 70s. As a studied clarinet player, Sheppard attended college and eventually earned a Masters degree from the Eastman School of Music before ending up in Los Angeles. However, Sheppard strongly attributes his most valuable schooling to his real world apprenticeship in and around Philly.
Sheppard's unexpected move to LA proved to be fortuitous as his intuitive musicality and creative voice quickly helped him become an in demand fixture in and out of the studios. He has appeared on more than one hundred movie and television soundtracks and worked with the who's who of music.
Among his most important associations was his eight year tenure with Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea's Origin, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchel, Herbie Hancock, Peter Erskine, Billy Childs, Mike Stern, Vince Mendoza, Scott Henderson, Michael Brecker, Horace Silver, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Queen Latifah, Randy Brecker, Lyle Mays, Toshiko Akiyoshi/ Lew Tabackin Big Band, Nat Adderley, Rickie Lee Jones, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Scott Henderson, Michael Franks, Otmaro Ruiz, Kurt Elling, George Duke, Bill Cunliffe, Marilyn Scott, and Diane Reeves. Sheppard recently toured with Billy Childs, Boz Scaggs, Kurt Elling and Peter Erskine and the Bob Sheppard quartet. In addition, he is a part-time faculty member at the USC Thornton School of Music and frequently conducts clinics at colleges.