Andy Sheppard Trio, Norwich

DAVID WAKEFIELD It mattered not a jot to a sell-out audience that Andy Sheppard was not performing with his familiar five-piece band; indeed, a solo performance would be relevant, such is the man's assurance with what he does.

DAVID WAKEFIELD

It mattered not a jot to a sell-out audience that Andy Sheppard was not performing with his familiar five-piece band; indeed, a solo performance would be relevant, such is the man's assurance with what he does.

For this reviewer, the trio format meant a good deal more freedom than with Sheppard's recent performances in this neck of the woods, when the material has been pretty much restricted to material from recent albums.

Although Steve Lodder (keyboards) and Chris Laurence (double bass) are regular sidemen, the leader freely admitted that they seldom play as a trio. The result was a free, easy and pleasing performance containing more than a smattering of humour. It was good to hear Lodder playing a lot of acoustic piano, which he did with dexterity and power; and to hear the solo possibilities of Chris Laurence's avuncular and meaty bass fiddle.


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As for Andy Sheppard, he did not disappoint, combining great control of dynamics, a formidable technique and his customary display of circular breathing.

The evening's stand-out number was Carla Bley's Lord, I'm Listening To You, Hallelujah, as the title suggests, a gospel-tinged swinger played with a lot of soul.

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Soul? Andy Sheppard? Yes, well this is jazz and all things are possible!

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