52 Jazz Tracks for 2021 (18. ‘Lullaby for Igor’ – Rita Marcotulli and Andy Sheppard, 2005)

The eighteenth of Jon Turney’s weekly selection (introduced HERE) features a duo with a sense of humour.

Rita Marcotulli and Andy SheppardAndy Sheppard has made heaps of great records, as leader and – so many times! – with Carla Bley. How to choose just one track? Im drawn to duos, and so is he it seems. There are notable sessions with Keith Tippett, John Parricelli, Kuljit Bhamra, and Joanna MacGregor. And this one, from the noughties, with the wonderful Italian pianist Rita Marcotulli.

The record, like other Sheppard duos, is full of the sound of two mutually sympathetic players having fun, but this track is especially playful. The Igor Andy had in mind was Dr Frankenstein’s sidekick, not Stravinsky, and he resists the effect of the bluesy lullaby. Sheppard’s tenor leads the protests, then the piano draws it back into the song and in the end, calm prevails. It’s a little silly, really, with its long drawn-out pauses at the close. Both players have laid down more profound tracks, some of them on this record – Marcotulli’s sprightly inventiveness and Sheppard’s superb control on tenor and soprano instruments both beautifully displayed throughout. But this one still makes me smile.

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LNKS: Listen on Spotify More on this recording on Jon’s Bristol Jazz Log Read Jon’s introduction to the ’52 tracks’ series Week 17: Cochichando, Paulo Moura & Os Batutas Spotify playlist for the series

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