LABELS: Sound Circus
ALBUM TITLE: Deep River
WORKS: Deep River
PERFORMER: Joanna MacGregor (piano/keyboards), Andy Sheppard (saxophone)
CATALOGUE NO: SC 009
We’ve come to expect the unexpected from the serial iconoclast, Joanna MacGregor.
So an improvised jazz session with saxophonist Andy Sheppard ought to be par for the course.But a jazz album inspired by the pianist’s love of Deep South gospel music and further informed by her own evangelical upbringing? More riskily, she has added in pieces closely identified with their original (contemporary) composers: Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and the Alabama 3. In a final twist she’s brought in guest producers to mix and remix some of the tracks.
The combination of spooky settings, MacGregor’s dark chords and Sheppard’s sanctified sax lines creates a deliciously sultry southern dreamscape with intense interplay between pianist and saxophonist. While MacGregor seems to be reclaiming deeply buried childhood memories, Sheppard sounds like he is reacting to a new sound from a person he thought he knew. The result is rather moving. Garry Booth