Andy Sheppard quartet, Surrounded by Sea, ECM

From 2015. With Trio Libero augmented by guitarist Eivind Aarset from the Movements in Colour band Andy Sheppard spreads his band’s wings. A studio album recorded in Lugano last year the saxophonist and double bassist Michel Benita’s tune ‘Tipping …

Published: 10 Nov 2019. Updated: 2 years.

From 2015. With Trio Libero augmented by guitarist Eivind Aarset from the Movements in Colour band Andy Sheppard spreads his band’s wings.

A studio album recorded in Lugano last year the saxophonist and double bassist Michel Benita’s tune ‘Tipping Point’ opens proceedings pensively, sax-soft, a ballad by some process of musical osmosis Benita’s pulsing bass the heartbeat of an album that goes on to include Elvis Costello’s world weary ‘I Want To Vanish’, a band-arranged Scots Gaelic traditional air treated in three different ways, a piece penned by the third Trio Libero member Sebastian Rochford as well as several Sheppard pieces including joyous closer ‘Looking for Ornette.’

There is a strong chamber jazz flavour on what is a highly introspective album, a sense of lontano provided at certain points by the wash of Aarset’s guitar. In its folkloric side translated imagistically by Sheppard the Quercus approach springs to mind for further comparison.

A very mournful album overall, the bass led-off ‘Origin of Species’ contemplative and calm the mood though much too subdued. Rochford’s ‘They Aren’t Perfect and Neither Am I’ allows Aarset more of a role while Sheppard is incredibly sensitive on soprano at the beginning of the second very brief but beautifully cleansing part of ‘Aoidh, Na Dean Cadal Idir’ (translated as ‘Aoidh, Don’t Sleep At All’). Heightened volume levels are a feature of the beginning of Sheppard’s ‘I See Your Eyes Before Me’ a tune that has a rawness to it, Aarset scything through expansive tenor saxophone lines the scope of this meta-ballad shifting ever elusively.

photo: Sara Da Costa

Stephen Graham

Tags:

Paul Towndrow: inspired by the Clyde

From 2018. Paul Towndrow and the Keywork Orchestra draw a tidal flow in inspiration from the Clyde “Glasgow is a magnificent city,” said McAlpin a character in Alasdair Gray’s magnum opus Lanark. “Why do we hardly ever notice that?” To which Duncan …

Published: 10 Nov 2019. Updated: 2 years.

Next post

From 2018. Paul Towndrow and the Keywork Orchestra draw a tidal flow in inspiration from the Clyde

“Glasgow is a magnificent city,” said McAlpin a character in Alasdair Gray’s magnum opus Lanark. “Why do we hardly ever notice that?” To which Duncan Thaw replies: “Because nobody imagines living here…. think of Florence, Paris, London, New York. Nobody visiting them for the first time is a stranger because he’s already visited them in paintings, novels, history books and films. But if a city hasn’t been used by an artist not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively.”

At the cultural festival of the European Championships in Glasgow, alto saxophonist Paul Towndrow and The Keywork Orchestra are to unveil ‘Deepening The River’ which certainly realises the importance of the city and its great river, which forms the very lifeblood of the place, the Clyde.

Paul writes in an email: “‘Deepening The River’ aims to become a powerful musical analogy, combining themes of hope, potential, social cultural and industrial history, movement of people, exchange of ideas, and deepening of thought, tolerance and understanding.”

Key to the concept is the 17th Century Merchants House of Glasgow where the concert will take place in the Grand Hall. The city merchants had historically lobbied for the deepening of The Clyde which then enabled the passage of ships, and thus facilitated greater trade. “The performances open the doors to one of Glasgow’s most central, yet lesser known music venues,” he adds.