Biography
An intriguing and versatile British saxophonist, Andy Sheppard is known for his post-bop and modern creative jazz sound. He initially emerged in the 1980s playing with progressive composer George Russell, and on projects with pianist Carla Bley. Along with his own albums like 1988's Andy Sheppard, he has regularly collaborated in a trio with Bley and bassist Steve Swallow, issuing albums like 2013's Trios, 2016's Andando el Tiempo, and 2020's Life Goes On.

Born in 1957 in Warminster, Wiltshire, England, Sheppard did not start playing music until he was 19 and planning to go to art college; a listen to John Coltrane's recordings changed the direction of his life. Within three weeks Sheppard was playing in public, but quite a few years of scuffling followed as he learned his craft and developed his own sound. In 1986, Sheppard won a jazz competition and was signed to the Antilles label, which served as his breakthrough. His subsequent activities included work with Gil Evans in France (1987), George Russell, and Carla Bley.

While Sheppard co-led a recording and touring band with keyboardist Steve Lodder, he continued his association with Bley. Along with bassist Steve Swallow, they recorded Songs with Legs, which was issued on Watt/ECM in 1995. From 1998 through 2003, the saxophonist released four albums with the U.K.'s Provocateur label, including 2000's Dancing Man Woman. Sheppard's membership in Bley's Lost Chords quartet (with Swallow and Billy Drummond) resulted in their self-titled offering in 2004. In 2005 he and pianist Rita Marcotulli recorded On the Edge of a Perfect Moment for Incipit, followed in 2007 by The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu.

The latter date prefaced Sheppard's signing to ECM as a solo artist. His first record for the label was 2009's Movements in Colour, an electric/acoustic quintet offering with two guitarists. It was followed three years later by Trio Libero, with the saxophonist in the company of double bassist Michel Benita and drummer Sebastian Rochford. Sheppard then joined Bley and Swallow for 2013's Trios, followed in 2015 by his own quartet album Surrounded by Sea, which featured Benita, Rochford, and guitarist Eivind Aarset. In 2016 he once again paired with longtime collaborators Bley and Swallow for Andando el Tiempo. Two years later, he returned with the quartet album Romaria, also released by ECM. His fourth trio album with Bley and Swallow, Life Goes On, arrived in 2020. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi




 
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