Surrounded By Sea (ECM) – 2015 UK Tour

” translucently beautiful” ★★★★ The Guardian2432 X

“career-defining moment for Sheppard” ★★★★ Jazzwise

 “lyrical magic” ★★★★★ BR Klassic

Andy Sheppard tenor and soprano saxophones
Eivind Aarset guitar
Michel Benita double bass
Sebastian Rochford drums


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Surrounded by Sea, Andy Sheppard’s third ECM album, is a strongly atmospheric recording, and one whose associative title seems especially apt. As the saxophonist observes, the sea in question is mostly calm, but storms and squalls can arise in a moment. British Islanders are fine-tuned to such sudden fluctuations: “Coming from England, I’ve grown up with the physical awareness of being surrounded by sea.”

Extending the range of his widely-praised Trio Libero project with Michel Benita and Seb Rochford, Andy Sheppard adds Eivind Aarset (who made significant contributions to 2008’s Movements In Colour) to the band. With Aarset’s ambient drones and electronic textures as a backdrop, Sheppard and co seem to have even more space to explore. The music embraced includes new compositions, open improvisations, an Elvis Costello tune, and the Gaelic traditional ballad “Aoidh, Na Dean Cadal Idir” which appears in three variations, a thematic thread through the album.

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