Andy Sheppard: tenor and soprano saxophones
Michel Benita: double-bass
Sebastian Rochford: drums
UK saxophonist Andy Sheppard’s second ECM album introduces his freely lyrical new trio with Michel Benita and Sebastian Rochford. All three players share a sense of stylistic open-mindedness. Drummer Rochford is one of the young players changing perceptions of British jazz with bands Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland. Algiers-born French bassist Benita, who cites Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro as influences, has played with Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz and in the ELB trio with Nguyên Lê and Peter Erskine. Repertoire here includes originals by Sheppard, Benita and Rochford, plus group improvisations and the standard “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” In all contexts, interaction is highly creative, as Benita and Rochford respond perceptively to Sheppard’s melodically and rhythmically inventive lines. Recorded July 2011 at Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano.
Trio Libero, convened by UK saxophonist Andy Sheppard, proposes music of graceful lyrical invention and emotional depth. On the debut recording of this free-spirited group, freedom is extended to melodies given room to breathe and to grow. There is space in the music and independence for each of the players, space for individual expression, as well as the possibilities for dialogue and interaction at any moment. From the beginning of the trio association of Andy Sheppard, Michel Benita and Sebastian Rochford, all these options were evident. To explore the group’s creative potential and to develop repertoire, early in 2009 Sheppard set up a residency for the trio at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh.
“I basically locked the trio in a room for four days and said let’s just improvise together, record everything and see what we come up with. I’d brought along some tunes as well, of course. This was the start of the band. We seemed to be able to improvise virtually complete tunes. Afterwards I just spent some time harmonizing and editing and so on.” Some of the material created at that first exploratory session would resurface on the ECM debut, recorded two years later (in July 2011) at Lugano’s Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera. The piece here titled “The Unconditional Secret”, for instance, is “more all less a straight transcription of a free improv dating from the Aldeburgh residency.” A modus operandi was thus established: “Improvise, write it down, develop it, then replay the tune with fresh improvisation: a trio libero.”
Andy Sheppard Jazz musician and composer