- Slip Duty
- I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
- Spacewalk, Part 1
- Dia Da Liberdade
- Land of Nod
- The Unconditional Secret
- Spacewalk, Part 2
- Lots of Stairs
- When We Live On The Stars
Andy Sheppard (saxophones), Michel Benita (bass), Sebastian Rochford (drums)
rec. Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzaera, Lugano [51:49]
The fully integrated trio of which Andy Sheppard is primus inter pares continues to furnish albums that demand the listener's full attention. This is because thematically things are often elliptical, and there is a glancing, tangential quality to the music, even when it seems at its most fulsome, that requires an appreciation of its rhythmic bases and its very particular and often spare qualities.
Sheppard is a slippery customer and his frequently introverted monologues coil obsessively around a few notes in Slip Duty, as he increases both volume and tension, in which journey Michel Benita and Sebastian Rochford offer intuitive and imaginative support. There is, throughout, a seam of melancholy both melodically and tonally, and this becomes almost Getz-like in Sheppard's upper register: I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, for instance, is both very slow and full of space. Extremes of dynamics and of registral change are few but when they occur, as they do in Spacewalk, Part 1 they are the more dramatic for this very reason.
The most `catchy' song on the album, and it's not an album to which one could generally apply the word, is Land of Nod which has a good groove in bass and drums. For the most part however one needs to explore the harmonic directions of the music. The trio is a subtle corporate group, and Benita shows his wares most clearly on Dia Da Liberdade where his warm and rounded tone is nothing but an asset. Rochford is a painterly drummer, a colourist of taste but one disinclined to draw too much overt attention to himself.
Overall, then, this is for those attracted to reflective intimacy, precision, and the use of space in contemporary music, rather more than the material itself.