358

Andy Sheppard / John Parricelli: P.S.

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Sometimes artists are better known for the company they keep than their own work. Despite leading an active musical life with over ten releases as a leader, British saxophonist Andy Sheppard is likely best known to North American audiences for work with composer/pianist Carla Bley, like The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu (Watt, 2007). British guitarist John Parricelli has a very small discography as a leader—though the superb Alba (Provocateur, 2000) proves it's quality, not quantity, that counts—but is an active session player/sideman who is known for work with trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler on albums including It Takes Two! (Cam Jazz, 2006).

Sheppard and Parricelli have intersected in other contexts in the past, but P.S. brings them together on a series of intimate duets that cover broad territory, but focus heavily on lyricism and a gentle, easy-on-the-ears approach. With writing duties equally split between them, along with one collaborative composition, it's not about muscular chops—although both undeniably possess them. Instead, it's about opening a window into an introspective meeting that, for all its accessibility, isn't shy on substance. If the ultimate purpose of acquiring technique and musical knowledge is to allow musicians to forget about it all and just play, then Sheppard and Parricelli have clearly made the leap from formidable ability to sheer musicality.

Parricelli utilizes effects like looping, as well as the flexibility offered by studio overdubbing, but generally plays more organically than, say, Bill Frisell. He loops the foundation vamp of his dark "Say So," adding additional colors to build an ethereal soundscape, with a more edgy tone doubling Sheppard's tenor for the song's lengthy theme. Parricelli's solo doesn't start until halfway through the seven-minute piece, but when it does, it's the definition of spare economy. Parricelli switches to nylon-string acoustic guitar for his Latin-esque "Reverie" which, along with a layered electric solo, becomes a feature for Sheppard, demonstrating his similar attention to space, tone and detail.

Parricelli's "Glencarron" is a steel-string acoustic guitar and soprano saxophone duet that approaches the Midwestern vibe of Pat Metheny's New Chautauqua (ECM, 1979), but with a lilt that can only come from the British Isles. A firm contrast to the acoustic, unadorned and non-overdubbed "Glencarron" is Sheppard's "Les Mains D'Alice." The saxophonist is back on tenor for a haunting, rubato tone poem, where Parricelli creates lush chordal swells with his volume pedal, delay and reverb. It's surprisingly reminiscent of the ambience of British singer/songwriter John Martyn's "Hurt in Your Heart," from his classic Grace & Danger (Island, 1980). The saxophonist's "He Stood in His House and He Wondered" follows in similar sonic territory, with Parricelli creating a deep pedal tone drone, but on a more overtly electronic landscape, with an ever-increasing series of loops that support Sheppard's lithe and supple melodicism.

The beautiful P.S. expands well beyond mainstream jazz, but despite its breadth of texture and approach, it's still an album about improvisation and intimate interaction, suggesting that these two artists, in fine and simpatico form, deserve far greater international recognition.

Visit Andy Sheppard and John Parricelli on the web.


Track Listing: Reverie; Glencarron; Les Mains D'Alice; He Stood in His Shoes and He Wondered; Art House Soft Leg Incident; Mer de Glace; Messala; Joni; Say So; Touch.

Personnel: Andy Sheppard: tenor and soprano saxophones; John Parricelli: electric and acoustic guitars, electronics.

Title: P.S. | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Provocateur Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "Live At Jazzhus Montmartre" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazzhus Montmartre
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "Prog Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Prog Noir
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "IZA" CD/LP/Track Review IZA
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Quartet Plus, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet Plus, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.