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Andy Sheppard

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Sheppard launched into a charging tenor swinger to open the second set over Benita’s elastic countermelodies and Rochford’s hissing cymbals. A lilting lyricism followed on a graceful contrapuntal Benita theme for bass and Sheppard’s soprano and in a fervent rhythm-juggling game with Rochford, the saxophonist often suggested the resourceful fluency of the American Joe Lovano. On the ECM recording apparently in the pipeline they’ll almost certainly be enthralling in every delicate detail.’ (Guardian)
‘The tunes are brand new, so the listener gets to eavesdrop on creation. The range of tunes and feels is pleasantly broad. Rubber Necking which opened the first half was a joyous but precisely articulated skittering bebop head ; Secret Waltz for Sara was simply expressive ; Let Me Tighten You Up brought to the fore Seb Rochford’s controlled side, with sit-up-straight military snare drum rolls ; Slip Duty, by contrast, set him completely free, non-metric drumming against pattern repetition from the melody instruments. And the encore -a standard- I Get Along Without You Very Well was gorgeously and dreamily reflective. The album on ECM, when it eventually comes.... will be very special.’ (Jazz Blog Spot).
‘Keep a lookout for the trio’s debut album on the ECM label. If their memorable and mesmeric performance in Cheltenham is anything to go by, the record promises to be an essential purchase.’ (jazzmusicalworld.blogspot)
‘British sax maestro Andy Sheppard kicked off the UK’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival weekend with his new outfit, Trio Libero. This special collaboration featuring drummer Sebastian Rochford and French bassist Michel Benita was a triumphant premiere, setting the bar high for the festival’s ensuing acts…the visionary sax player delivered what was arguably the best performance of the entire festival. (jazzmusicalworld.blogspot)
‘The level of musical sophistication was obvious. Solos refrained from showing off ; the tumbling lines of demi-semis would come when needed and Sheppard seemed just as at ease blowing air barely audibly into his sax, producing sound only by snapping various keys down, as he did in one brilliantly understated ending. His lightness of touch and easy grace also emerged during his brief and wry introductions to the audience, where he proved himself to be engaging, albeit totally eccentric, interlocutor. But during the music, Sheppard would turn inwards and presided benignly over his group, often with his eyes closed ; he rarely faced the audience, instead keeping his unassuming face locked in quiet contemplative focus in the direction his fellow band members.’ (jazzmusicalworld.blogspot)
‘We crossed into the Main Hall to hear this new project from the great British saxophonist Andy Sheppard. This time last year Sheppard was part of a brilliant performance in this same room by pianist and composer Carla Bley’s Lost Chords group. Sheppard’s own group was equally as impressive with the leader being joined by French bass player Michel Benita plus drummer Seb Rochford…marvellous music defined by a lightness of touch and an easy grace… the level of musical sophistication was both obvious and impressive but without ever any hint of “showing off”. Messrs. Sheppard, Benita and Rochford served the music faithfully and left the audience smiling, all of them doubtless just waiting for that album to come out.’ ( )