Andy Sheppard: La Tristesse Du Roi
La Tristesse Du Roi
Andy Sheppard (tenor sax)
Movements in Colour (ECM 2062)
Composed by Andy Sheppard.
Recorded: Pernes-les-Fontaines, France, February 2008
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
A fifteen minute jazz performance is much like a fifteen round boxing match. The participants can't lay it all out in the first round—otherwise they won't last the distance. Or, if they do, they risk leaving the audience behind, worn and exhausted. Instead, the great performers learn how to pace themselves, adjust to the flow, and wait for their right moments. Andy Sheppard and the aurally aware unit of musicians he has assembled for his outstanding Movements in Colour compact disk do just that on this track. The opening several minutes is mostly muted sound pastels that only gradually come together into a musical heartbeat. The rhythm section coheres perfectly—Eivind Aarset, the Bill Frisell of Norway, proves again that he really deserves to be better known in the US, Andersen solos with guitar-like fluidity, and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra carries the pulse with such life that no trapset is needed or missed. But Sheppard is the vital ingredient, playing with spirit yet never with abandon. Often he stays in pentatonic and diatonic territory, but his solo is a gem. He draws the listener in more deeply with each passing minute. The rest of the CD matches the promise of this opening track, and the disk is likely to make my "best of the year" list.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia