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Andy Sheppard & Rita Marcotulli

August 2020

Guardian:
Italian pianist Marcotulli's duets with British saxophonist Sheppard have been discreet gems which, in recent years, have occasionally been seen glittering around the jazz scene, and this set is a more faithful representation of that intimacy than the pair's more eclectic album, Koine, released four years ago. Marcotulli has lived in Scandinavia, and the ghostly, wistful long-note jazz of Jan Garbarek, Arve Henriksen and others has had an impact here. Sheppard's tone control and ability to do more with less has been an eloquent feature of his mid-life music, but a startling edginess often bursts out of it, in fierce split-notes or rumbling, upward-spiralling runs against slowly swaying piano figures. Waves and Wind appoints the piano (in Marcotulli's Jarrett-like incarnation) and the saxophone to play each role respectively, and Sound of Stone is an abstract wriggle through soprano figures and skittering percussion. Lullaby for Igor is like a slow townships dance, while Pink Floyd's Us and Them is a reverie that imperceptibly gathers momentum, and Carnival a driving tango. The result is a real contemporary improvised dialogue, on very good original material. (John Fordham)

Jazzwise:
A dream-like, wistful recording, On the Edge of a perfect Moment provides further evidence of the chemistry between Andy Sheppard and Italian pianist Rita Marcotulli – a pianist capable both of poignant runs and explosive comping. Sheppard’s fragile, whispery improvisations are naturally at ease in the duo setting, and his relaxed, free-flowing interplay with Marcotulli can be lovely at times. Depsite deep romantic sensibilities, On the Edge...often feels like a documentary of how comfortable the two find each other’s company. The plucky ‘Carnival’ is a case in point, as both players explore and imitate each other’s risk-taking. Ditto, ‘Lullaby for Igor’ which has a Township-like funkiness from the pianist. Elsewhere, much of the album is a lesson in reflective understatement – the crystaline title track, a lyrical treatment of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wave and Wind’. Throughout, the saxist and pianist complement each other – Sheppard’s flights playing off Marcotulli’s gravitational rhythmic patterns. (Tom Barlow)

Line Up

Andy Sheppard, soprano & tenor saxophones

Tourdates

29.08.2020 BARGA/Italy Villa Gherardi

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