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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CD Review: Andy Sheppard Quartet – Surrounded by Sea

Andy Sheppard – tenor and soprano saxophones; Eivind Aarset – guitar, electronics; Michel Benita – double bass; Sebastian Rochford – drums.
(Review by Hugh)
This is Andy Sheppard's third album released on ECM.  The quartet is formed by the addition of Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset to the personnel comprising Trio Libero - whose output is encapsulated on the previous ECM release by Sheppard, which takes the name of the trio as its title.  The trio started out as an improvising trio, but in the new quartet format Sheppard wanted to “move things in a new direction with the addition of harmony and subtle grooves”.
The current album title “Surrounded by Sea” evokes some of the unique characteristics of those who inhabit an island nation.  According to Sheppard, the sea in this case is mostly calm, but squalls and storms can arise in a moment.
On this album the lyrical saxophone playing of Andy Sheppard floats gently on a raft of sound structurally underpinned by Seb Rochford's subtle drumming mixed with Michel Benita's sensitive bass playing and Eivind Aarset's layered guitar and electronics.
The album has eleven tracks in all.  These are arranged as eight separate tracks interspersed by the three separate parts of Aoidh, Na Dean Cadal Idir.  This piece is named after a Gaelic traditional song and translates as Aoidh, Don't Sleep At All. Sheppard learned the song from Hebridean folk singer Julie Fowlis and the instrumental music was written by all four quartet members to dress her a capella vocal rendition of the song.
The majority of the rest of the material is of Sheppard's composition, sometimes in conjunction with another member of the quartet.  The second track, I Want to Vanish is an Elvis Costello composition and Rochford and Benita have contributed one track each.  It is difficult to single out any particular track for comment as the album has a definite flow from one end to the other.  The overall atmosphere is calm with the minimum of swell now and then.  The squalls and storms remain over the horizon throughout. 
The signature saxophone style of Andy Sheppard is evident across all the tracks and is beautifully blended with the contributions of the other three quartet members.  This is a class act and unhesitatingly recommended by this reviewer!
Hugh.
Surrounded by Sea was released by ECM in the UK on April 13 (catalogue number 471 4273)







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