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Andy Sheppard: Thoughts and Trio Libero

By Published: September 1, 2012
We discussed music, how he felt after the concert and chatted generally. Sheppard told me how once he met Ian Dury and Dame Judy Dench at a bar—together. I met a couple of people, including saxophonistAndy Brush, with whom I discussed Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon

and The Blockheads. Sheppard is immensely likeable and his passion for music, sax and expressive music is never in doubt. I am aware of my own preference for free jazz which breaks speakers, so I had told myself to expect something different even before I went to the concert. In view of our discussion before, and knowing Sheppard's strength of support for freer playing, I was expecting communication, a reaction and a sense of something good happening. On all fronts, I was not disappointed.

There were moments of brilliance and all the musicians showed their virtuosity. Sheppard's fingers can move at the speed of light and he colors and shades phrases with ease, creating patterns and whirls in what is , after all, a relatively subdued and gentle mood. One reviewer of the album wrote that Trio Libero feels as if they are aiming at something which perhaps would be realized in a live performance. He was wrong. Trio Libero are what they are and they are different.

There is the overwhelming sense that somehow three wonderful musicians of great talent have happily found themselves together, recording and performing. Even if it is a temporary state of affairs and even if perhaps Trio Libero is something to enjoy for the moment and move on from, it is an experience which can only enrich both players and listeners. Perhaps Trio Libero will become established for decades. Who knows?

One of the things about going to a concert which is a band playing through an album is that, if you do not listen to the album before, you are unsure what to expect and you often get surprised. I was, not in a bad way and I am sure there are more surprises ahead.

Sheppard is a musical chameleon and can play freeform, improvised, standards or the gentle, charismatic style of Trio Libero. He is also a very nice guy. I, for one, would like to see this particular chameleon again; next time, just maybe influenced more by his surroundings so he can truly show his colors.

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