Andy Sheppard Quartet

The Andy Sheppard Quartet (Photo © Garry Corbett)

The Andy Sheppard Quartet (Photo © Garry Corbett)

Pictures and review by Garry Corbett

Warwick Arts Centre

The quartet concentrated on material drawn from their most recent ECM album, Surrounded By Sea. The mood of the album was replicated, bettered even, in performance. The sound was superb.

Atmospheric, subtle, predominantly blue stage lighting added to the mood, while the quartet, with the gravitas of a chamber ensemble, took the music on a journey. We were caressed by the vast wash of guitarist Eivin Aarset’s electronic waves of sound underpinned by sensitive drums and percussion from Michele Rabbia (the only personnel change from the recording) and the precise beautiful bass work of Michel Benita.

The latter also provided one of the highlight non-album compositions of the evening, The Letter. Others included a haunting version of Nick Drake’s River Man. This has become something of a standard in recent times with stand-out versions by Brad Melhdau and guitarist Lee Ritenour with Kurt Elling handling the vocals. To my ears this version outshone both. The quartet gave us a river at dusk with encroaching darkness conjured by Sheppard’s breathy tenor saxophone and hand claps/pebble sounds from percussionist Rabia. It was wide flowing and deep with a hint of something hidden.

The encore was another surprise. The Beatles’ And I Love Her saw the familiar tune being transformed into something sublime.

Altogether a fabulous evening’s music.

  • See more of Garry’s photographs by clicking on the picture. 

Categories: Live review

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