COMPOSERS: Andy Sheppard
LABELS: Blue Note
PERFORMER: Andy Sheppard (saxes), Claude Deppa, Kevin Robinson (t); Gary Valente, Ashley Slater (tb); Jerry Underwood, Julian Arguelles (saxes); Steve Lodder (kb); Sylvan Richardson (b); Dave Adams (d)
CATALOGUE NO: BLT 1007
The band Big Co-Motion, featured on one track here, recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s, is basically a larger version of Andy Sheppard’s stimulating electric small group In Co-Motion and represents the saxophonist’s second foray into bigger-band jazz. His core group’s chief strength – an ability to shift seamlessly between taut funk and looser, straight-ahead jazz improvisation – is tellingly accentuated by the energy and power provided by a beefed-up horn section.
Sheppard’s great skill lies in his adeptness at building rousing climaxes from deceptively wispy, infectiously simple themes. Rhythm Method’s six tracks, whether featuring quintet, sextet or the fully extended line-up, not only confirm his growing expertise as a composer and arranger but provide a tasty appetiser for a forthcoming live album from the Big Co-Motion, Delivery Suite. Chris Parker