Bob Sheppard – Saxophones & Flutes
John Beasley – Piano
Jasper Somsen – Double Bass
Kendrick Scott – Drums
Benjamin Shepherd – Bass Guitar
Mike Cottone – Trumpet
Simon Moullier – Vibraphone
Maria Puga Lareo – Vocals
Aaron Safarty – Percussion
LONDON TIMES: **** Bob Sheppard: The Fine Line — sensitivity and suggestiveness from a studio pro
Bob Sheppard was almost 40 before he led his first recording date, but his “apprenticeship” was more stellar than many others’ careers. He was a long-term sideman to Freddie Hubbard, but his dexterity on many reed instruments made session work his mainstay. He played on soundtracks, on records by Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder and in the Tonight Show band. He has chops, basically. You might expect an excess of slickness from such a studio pro, but this set displays a sensitive and suggestive talent. On Maria’s Tango and Joegenic, tunes that hint at their emotional pull without quite committing, Sheppard’s tenor sax is sly and sinuous. His sinister soprano pushes at the jagged bop of Edge of Trouble, climaxing in a ricocheting drum solo by Kendrick Scott on a rare straight-ahead date.
– Al Foster
With The Fine Line Sheppard has succeeded once more in producing an album populated by vibrant, memorable tunes that invite constant and frequent replays. – **** ALL ABOUT JAZZ
That ingenuity pervades the album, ensuring that there’s always a little bit extra for the listener to dig into. The Fine Line is a gem of an album, and another excellent reason to remember Bob Sheppard’s name. – DOWNBEAT (Editor’s Pick)
At the Jazzahead Network Event 2013 in Bremen (GER) Jasper Somsen and Bob Sheppard had a wonderful, long conversation, exchanged music and discussed possibilities of playing together. In the end, it took almost two years to be onstage playing in The Netherlands. Shortly after, Jasper got the opportunity to work on a number of audio productions as an independent producer at Challenge Records. One of those projects became this very anticipated album. John Clayton kindly offered his famous Ray Brown double bass, the one Ray played in the 1960s during his time with the Oscar Peterson Trio, for these recordings.
I believe “The Fine Line” is a beautiful statement that displays the great music and musicianship of Bob Sheppard and that of all the players involved. It demonstrates that if you strongly believe in the life of an idea, desire will find a way to turn it into a plan and in the end your dream can come true.
– Jasper Somsen (double bassist & co-producer)
Edge Of Trouble (B. Sheppard)
The Fine Line (B. Sheppard)
Above & Beyond (J. Somsen)
Thanks For The Memory (R. Rainger & L. Robin – arr. B. Sheppard/J. Beasley)
(c) 2018 – cover photo: Maria Puga Lareo