Sheppard/Benita/Rochford: Trio Libero (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Sheppard/Benita/Rochford: When We Live On the Stars
Sheppard/Benita/Rochford: Trio Libero (ECM/Ode)

This elegant and sinuously lyrical album features two generations of British jazz musicians; saxophonist Andy Sheppard who came to prominence in the post-Marsalis years in the Eighties alongside Courtney Pine in the vanguard of UK scene, and drummer/composer Seb Rochford (interviewed here) whose geometric style comes full of odd angles and accents which launched him into the spotlight more recently with the bands Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland.

The other point on the triangle is French bassist Michel Benita whom Sheppard had met while living and playing in Paris in the Eighties.

Sheppard's previous ECM album was very different (tabla player, electronics) but these spare pieces are full of space and languor and they stretch easily as Sheppard's long Garbarek-like tone moves across a backdrop of arco bass and subtle percussion punctuations (Spacewalk Parts 1 and 2).

Or there is that barely-there quality so familiar on ECM recordings (Dia Da Liberdade), although despite it's title Land of Nod has a bounce in its step as Rochford lays down enticingly unusual patterns before Sheppard enters with a quirky melodic line.

So just when you come to expect the familiar, the direction changes and bends the music into different and enjoyably odd shapes.

The woody ballad The Unconditional Secret at the midpoint again recalls Garbarek although Sheppard has a warmer tone, and Lots of Stairs is like tone poem of haiku economy.

Most of these pieces are credited to the trio and were worked out from sessions of pure improvisation, and that lends coherence to an album which succeeds through understatement and seductively simple melodies played with deep emotional attachment.

Quite the quiet gem.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz at Elsewhere articles index

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

When fame called on Jack DeJohnette during his period in Miles Davis' innovative electric band of the late Sixties and early Seventies, he was ready for it. Acclaim outside their own world is... > Read more

LESTER BOWIE REMEMBERED (1941-1999): Does humour belong in music?

LESTER BOWIE REMEMBERED (1941-1999): Does humour belong in music?

Humour hasn’t had much place in jazz. Certainly Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong entertained by mugging things up. But mostly jazz is poker-faced music played to furrowed brow audiences... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

In an ideal world good design should be like fine wine and excellent food: only noticeable by its absence. But we live with ordinary chardonnays, indifferent meals, and abusive or annoyingly awful... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . CHARLEY PATTON: A riddle wrapped in an enigma

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . CHARLEY PATTON: A riddle wrapped in an enigma

So little is really known about Charley Patton that people have had to fill in the gaps with belief, rumour and myth. The date of his birth in south Mississippi can only be located somewhere... > Read more