Andy Sheppard

Soft on the Inside

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This Andy Sheppard CD was dedicated to Gil Evans, Carla Bley, and George Russell and, like those three, Sheppard does not use his fellow horn players in conventional brass and reed sections, but as individual players. The ensembles tend to be crowded but loosely organized, with the horn riffs often stealing the spotlight from the soloists. Sheppard wrote and arranged the four lengthy tracks, and his 15-piece group (which includes two keyboards, cello, and two drummers) has among its stars vibraphonist Orphy Robinson, cellist Ernst Reijseger, trombonist Gary Valente, trumpeter Claude Deppa, and the leader's tenor. Although there is nothing too radical about the colorful music, this fine effort shows that there is still life to be found in big band jazz.

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