Movements in Colour

Andy Sheppard

Although Andy Sheppard has been featured on a dozen albums with Carla Bley for WATT, this is his first album for ECM proper. The British saxophonist heads an international quintet in a programme of self-penned pieces, all buoyant and strongly melodic. Sheppard’s elegant saxophone and the strongly-contrasting guitars of Parricelli and Aarset are lifted up by the rhythmic drive of Arild Andersen’s muscular bass and the crisp, dynamic tabla of Kuljit Bhamra, a musician well known in the UK as a key figure in the Asian pop and bhangra movements.

Featured Artists Recorded

February 2008, Studios La Buissonne, Pernes les Fontaines

Original Release Date


  • 1La Tristesse Du Roi
    (Andy Sheppard)
  • 2Bing
    (Andy Sheppard)
  • 3Nave Nave Moe
    (Andy Sheppard)
  • 4Ballarina
    (Andy Sheppard)
  • 5May Song
    (Andy Sheppard)
  • 6We Shall Not Go To Market Today
    (Andy Sheppard)
  • 7International Blue
    (Andy Sheppard)
BBC Music Magazine, Choice
This is a subtle and well-balanced showcase for Sheppard’s current quintet, featuring music which is elegantly performed and sonically mellifluous. … His natural melodic sense and textural skills are in their element in a sequence of pieces which range from gentle folkiness and Latin lilt to a yearning, quasi-symphonic approach which is gently elevated by Bhamra’s tabla. The twin-guitar idea works well, too, adding a pleasing warmth and an agility to the music’s harmonic structure.
Roger Thomas, BBC Music Magazine
Sheppard’s music … shows in the way these five musicians combine to kaleidoscopic effect that matters most rather than their solo contributions. The impression throughout is of serving the music. At times, they hint at something darker. … In the main this is warm, upbeat, yet reflective music beautifully played and recorded.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise
Sheppard’s improvising style, in which he fits short phrases into grooves and heats them slowly, makes this album bloom on successive listenings. Some tracks are more impressionistic and textural, with tentative sax sketches unfolding over chordal hums or a violin-like guitar-sustain. Ballad themes such as Ballarina and May Song display both Sheppard’s lyrical imagination and the melodic knack of his regular bandleader, Carla Bley. … It’s lyrical, playful, accessible – and pure Sheppard.
John Fordham, The Guardian
In der Ruhe liegen Kraft und Attraktivität. Nach dieser Volksmundweisheit hat auch der englische Saxofonist Andy Sheppard sein Album Movements in Colour konzipiert. Und selbst wenn es in dem kultiviert gestalteten Reigen schon mal etwas exotisch, außereuropäisch zugeht, mit dem wieselflinken Tabla-Derwisch Kuljit Bhamra beispielsweise, behält Sheppard die Nerven und seine Tonschönheit. … Aufmerksam darf man sich dabei zurücklehnen, lauscht man konzentriert dem zarten und spannungsreichen Netz und Gewebe seiner Kompositionen – und genießt sie zugleich.
Guido Fischer, Jazzthetik
Der britische Saxophonist Andy Sheppard ist ein Meister gesanglicher Melodien, die ins Ohr gehen und hängen bleiben sowie eines runden, klangvollen Tons. … In seiner eigenen Musik arbeitet er gern mit weltmusikalischen Elementen… Gestützt von Aarsets elektronischen Effekten liefert das Zusammenspiel der Gitarristen Klangfarben und ein Geflecht, aus dem sich mal der eine, mal der andere mit linearem Spiel herauslöst. Andersens voluminöser Kontrabass verschafft diesen Schwebeklängen und Sheppards von Folk bis Weltmusik inspirierten Themen das ideale Fundament, sich darüber zu entfalten.
Berthold Klostermann, Fono Forum
Inspiriert von einer Musik der Welt, die Länder- und Kulturgrenzen ignoriert, schafft Sheppard mit seinen Mitstreitern John Parricelli, Eivind Aarset, Arild Andersen und Kuljit Bhamra ein eigenes musikalisches Kontinuum. Diese Musik ist in Töne gegossene Sehnsucht, deren Ideen und Fragmente auf dem Nährboden afrikanischer, indischer und lateinamerikanischer Erde gediehen sind. …
Ein Album für Liebhaber einer Musik, die Kategorisierungen bewusst und unbewusst nicht zuzulassen bereit ist. Andy Sheppards Movements in Colour ist eine phantasievolle Reise in die Innenwelt der Ideen des Protagonisten und die Außenwelt der Musik dieser Erde.
Carina Prange, Jazzdimensions
Andy Sheppard’s ECM debut – after a dozen albums with Carla Bley for WATT – is a bright and uplifting proposal, intensely melodic and rhythmically buoyant. Its title essentially its programme, the music moves outward from ‘jazz’ to touch on neighbouring cultures, and Sheppard’s longstanding affection for Indian, African and Latin pulses and grooves is evident in self-composed pieces that give the leader and an exceptional cast of supporting musicians plenty of room to move.

“Sometimes,” Sheppard says, “music comes to life through a wonderful game of chance. Being paired with new musicians for the first time can be a very rewarding and creative experience. Sometimes musicians are hand-picked and put together in order to create a specific texture, to realise a dream in sound - this is the case here.”

The featured line-up draws upon established and recent relationships. The British saxophonist plays regularly in duos with jazz guitarist John Parricelli and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra, and both are also members of his quartet. Sheppard wanted Bhamra to be central to this project, “rather than using tabla as an add-on or extra sound, and I encouraged him to expand his kit to include snare drum and cymbals and a range of other percussive instruments.” John Parricelli is, in the leader’s words, “an incredible musician and always a joy to play with but has only two hands - and I was hearing texture and colour as well as clean line, so it seemed logical to choose a second guitarist to create the possibilities of a giant guitar. It was while touring as a guest soloist with Ketil Bjørnstad’s band that I eventually got to play with Eivind Aarset - the perfect choice for the sound world that I was after.” UK tours with Bjørnstad also brought Sheppard and Arild Andersen together, and while writing the music for the present disc, Sheppard reports that he was “hearing melodies on acoustic bass and I knew that Arild’s sound and lyricism would make them sing as well as provide essential energy.“