The following is a performance review featuring Arild Andersen (double bass)
After always being a fan of ECM artists, I was thrilled to learn that Andy Sheppard, renowned Jazz saxophonist, was recording his first album for the label. There has always been a tinge of the ECM sound about the music Sheppard created – his sense of melody and rhythm together with an ability to create stunning, intelligent soundscapes – so this album was almost inevitable.
Most of the pieces performed were from this new album, Movements In Colour and were inspired by a number of paintings that Sheppard admires. I always feel Jazz music does a wonderful job of describing colour. This was no exception.
What really turned my head however, when I got news that he was performing not a million miles away from me at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester UK, was that on double bass was the legendary Mr. Arild Andersen. Nothing was going to keep me from attending this performance!
I cite Andersen as a major influence on my own double bass playing but had never seen him perform live before so I knew I was in very much looking forward to the performance.
The band did not disappoint. From the first note the concert was an exploration, a journey in spacious, melodic textures. Undercurrents of India, North Africa and wide open Nordic landscapes were just some of the places you could get transported to if you closed your eyes for a moment.
Aarset would provide washes of looped, processed guitar whilst Sheppard displayed true virtuosity on his saxophones (placing them on the floor when not in use… much to my sax-playing friend’s horror!). Parricelli would switch between nylon-strung acoustic and electric guitars, interjecting melodic, fusion-esque solos. All this held together by tabla virtuoso and percussionist Kuljit Bhamra.
Arild Andersen showed why he is one of Norway’s finest double bassists. He effortlessly switched between rhythmic accompaniment and dynamic and creative, horn-like solos. I commented to my friends how much his upright bass sounded as if it were being bowed when he was actually playing pizz – awesome, fluid sustain and deep tone.
It wasn’t only Aarset who used live looping to create his sound. Andersen also creatively used loops on a few occasions either for building up layers of arco bass for use as a backdrop, or as a foundation for solo improvisation. I have emailed him asking him about the specific looping equipment he uses. I will post here when I get a reply.
The concert was a truly uplifting experience and was thoroughly enjoyed by the packed house. The music inspired and motivated me and was over all too soon!
Andy Sheppard – soprano and tenor saxophones
John Parricelli – guitar
Eivind Aarset – guitar and electronics
Arild Andersen – double bass
Kuljit Bhamra – tabla and percussion
Editor’s note: Help us welcome Russ, our newest contributor.