The Richard Shepherd Experience @ The Manor – July 31st 2011

The Richard Shepherd Experience @ The Manor – July 31st 2011In The Band: Richard Shepherd (alto sax) directing Steve Pearce† (double bass); Darren Altman† (drums); Mike Gorman† (keyboard, left); Freddie Gavita, Tommy Walsh, Jack Davies, Will Rixon† (trumpets); Mat Walton, Martin Gladdish†, Callum Au† (tenor trombones), Barry Clements† (bass trombone); saxophones: Lucas Dodd (alto), Bob Sydor & Jonathan Lewis (tenors), Pete Lucas (baritone).

Set 1: Sax No End (Francey Boland) [intro: Steve & Darren; solos (all with just rhythm section): Bob, Mat, Freddie, Lucas, Martin, Tommy, Jonathan, Callum, Will, Barry, Mike, Richard; soli: sax section; coda: Darren] : First Love Song (Bob Brookmeyer) [solo: Mike] : Walk The Talk (Callum Au) [intro: Mike; solo: Callum (wah-wah muted, then open); soli: sax section] : Crisis (Freddie Hubbard, arr. Jonathan Lewis) [solos: Martin, Mike, Tommy] : Holland Park (Frank Griffith) intro: sax section; solos: Will (flgl), Lucas, Darren] : My Old Flame (Sam Coslow/Arthur Johnson, arr. Mike Gorman) [solos: Richard, Jack, Martin; solis: sax & tpt sections] : Who Can I Turn To? (Lesley Bricausse, arr. Callum Au) [feature for Richard] : Hay Burner (Sam Nestico) [intro: Mike; soli: sax section].

Set 2: {†’Birth Of The Cool’ Nonet interlude: Move (Denzil Best, arr. John Lewis) [solos: Will Richard, Martin, Darren] : God Child (George Wallington, arr. Gerry Mulligan) [solos: Will, Richard, Pete, Mike]} : Friend Like Me (Alan Menken, arr. Callum Au) [intro: Mike; solos: Martin, Bob, Tommy] : C.T.A. (Jimmy Heath, arr. Jonathan Lewis) [intro: Bob & Jonathan in duet; solos: Jonathan, Bob then alternating, trading 4s & 8s] : Wild Is The Wind (Dimitri Tiomkin/Ned Washington, arr. Mike Gorman) [solos: Bob, Lucas, Darren] : One More Time Again (Mike Gorman) [solo: Mike] : Splanky (Neil Hefti, arr. Sam Nestico) [intro: Richard (pno); solos: Jonathan, Freddie, Richard (alt), Martin, Steve; coda: Richard (pno)].                          

Denotes Nonet players

Jottings: This band really impressed us on its debut here back in May – and we were even more delighted with this performance. Only two numbers carried over from that first session – the exuberant Sax No End, serving to introduce the band members, and Mike’s wonderfully-worked arrangement of My Old Flame – otherwise it was a satisfying mix of charts by arrangers such as Bob Brookmeyer and Sam Nestico, leavened by some well-chosen arrangements (and originals) by Callum, Jonathan and Mike.

Also new this time was a ‘Birth Of The Cool’ interlude, in which Richard managed successfully to re-create the seminal sound of Miles Davis’s unusual Nonet of the early ‘50s. The Nonet’s music consisted of innovative, fully-written arrangements inspired by classical music, and its record signalled a major development in post-bebop jazz; hearing Move and God Child this beautifully rendered, it was easy to understand why.

The session ended with a Basie favourite – Splanky – in tribute to the great saxophonist Frank Foster, who had died earlier in the week; Richard played the Count’s signature piano intro before taking a fine alto solo in Frank’s memory. 

Review: Steve Harris/Ian Fielding : Photo: Contributed