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Movements In Colour

Andy Sheppard

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Album Review

A new set by British saxophonist and composer Andy Sheppard is always a welcome proposal, but his 13th album, and 14th release overall, also happens to be his debut for ECM. The association is a long one, indirectly, since Sheppard recorded a dozen albums with Carla Bley's band on WATT, which is manufactured and distributed by ECM. The music on Movements in Colour is an ambitious, but utterly lyrical blend of Latin, Middle Eastern, and post-bop, and it is realized by musicians such as jazz guitarist John Parricelli (who plays acoustically here) and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra — members of Sheppard's regular quartet — guitarist and electronic musician Eivind Aarset, and double bassist Arild Andersen, who also plays some electronics. The set opens with "La Tristesse du Roi," and some sparse, gently out playing by Sheppard on his tenor before he states a spacious, modal theme that is gently boarded by the other players — first Aarset and Andersen's electronics before the rest of the band enter with double bass, more quietly swirling electronics, and finally, Parricelli's acoustic guitar and the tabla, which quickly becomes a centerpiece of the tune. The movement of the tabla also denotes the long work's (nearly 15 minutes) sections and prefaces the solo breaks with a slightly changing rhythm. Parricelli's is particularly beautiful. "Bing" begins with percussion and double bass creating a frenetic pace before Aarset's treated guitars, electronics, and Sheppard's saxophone state the melody that is colored elegantly by Parricelli. It too is uptempo, with Latin groove and plenty of give and take, feeling much more like a modern jazz tune — it is exotic, but not mysterious — as it simply moves through different moods and textures to arrive at a specific destination. "Nave Nave Moe" is a gorgeous midtempo ballad featuring Sheppard's expertise on the soprano. The interplay between theParricelli's 12-string and Aarset's electric is lovingly accented by the rhythm section playing in a sprightly but still-laid back groove. The brief "Ballarina," and the closer "International Blue," are largely atmospheric pieces, more impressionistic than formal but still compelling. Ultimately, Movements in Colour is a wonderfully breezy, airy, but very sophisticated recording that places an unusual instrument (the tabla) at the center of a jazz group that defies expectations and delivers something new yet familiar; this set is both well-conceived, and more importantly, well-executed.

Movements In Colour, Andy Sheppard
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  • £9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 03 April 2009

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