The Music Lounge

Andy Sheppard Quartet UK Tour 2015

Andy Sheppard at the Terry O’Toole Theatre, Lincoln…

asI first saw the brilliant tenor and soprano saxophonist Andy Sheppard play with drummer Dylan Howe on the Subterraneans tour in 2014. It was my introduction to his wonderful playing and so I was delighted to see him make a return to the city as part of his promotional tour for his latest album ‘Surrounded By Sea’ as part of the Andy Sheppard Quartet.

The Quartet is a truly gifted group of musicians. Alongside Andy is Eivind Aarset from Norway on guitar and electronics, the quite remarkable Seb Rochford on drums and from France, the Algerian born double bass player, Michel Benita. Together they have produced a beautiful album on ECM Records and it was really quite special to see it performed live.

Their playing is sublime, Michel Benita’s double bass and Eivind Aarset’s guitar playing was subtle, controlled and complex. It is a rare commodity indeed to see and hear restrained playing for the greater good and the combination of traditional double bass with ingenious electronics was new, fresh and interesting. Seb Rochford’s drumming was on another level, I particularly liked his own composition from the album, ‘They Aren’t Perfect and Neither Am I’ and the remarkable effects he created on the cymbals.

Andy Sheppard is serious stuff, his pedigree in the jazz world is first class and his reputation is truly international. Lincoln was fortunate indeed to be included as part of their European tour and it was great to see them play to an enthusiastic audience. These guys deserve the plaudits and if you can catch them this month (May 2015) in Bury St Edmonds, Clitheroe, Salisbury or Dorset then you will not regret it.

Surrounded By Sea by The Andy Sheppard Quartet is available on ECM Records

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