Andy Sheppard

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This article is about the British jazz musician. For the Canadian radio broadcaster, see Andy Sheppard (broadcaster).
Andy Sheppard
Andy Sheppard 05N8765.jpg
Sheppard at the, Moers Festival 2012
Background information
Born (1957-01-20) 20 January 1957 (age 59)
Origin Warminster, Wiltshire, England
Genres Post bop
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Tenor sax
Soprano sax
Years active 1978 – current
Associated acts Sphere, Gil Evans, Carla Bley, George Russell, Steve Lodder, Kathryn Tickell, John Parricelli, Joanna MacGregor, Dave Buxton, Steve Swallow
Website Official website
Andy Sheppard (r) in Monaco with Carla Bley and Paolo Fresu

Andy Sheppard (born 20 January 1957) is a British jazz saxophonist and composer. He has been awarded several prizes at the British Jazz Awards, and has worked with some notable figures in contemporary jazz, including Gil Evans, Carla Bley, George Russell and Steve Swallow.


Sheppard was born in Warminster, Wiltshire, England, in 1957.[1] At the age of 19 he emerged as a musician in the Salisbury-based contemporary quartet Sphere in the late 1970s, gigging only three weeks after picking up the saxophone.[1][2] He honed his skills in the wine bars and jazz clubs of the UK and Europe in the early 1980s. He also played with world music groups[3][4][5] and with more established improvisers such as Keith Tippett. While still with Sphere, Sheppard moved to Paris, working with French bands Lumière and Urban Sax.

In the mid-1980s Sheppard returned to the UK, playing often on Ki Longfellow-Stanshall's and Vivian Stanshall's Bristol, England-based Old Profanity Showboat, and released his self-titled debut solo album, featuring Randy Brecker and Steve Swallow, who also produced the album. The record was well received and led to Sheppard being awarded the Best Newcomer prize at the 1987 British Jazz Awards, followed by the Best Instrumentalist Award in 1988.[6] '87 also saw Sheppard join George Russell's Living Time Orchestra and tour with Gil Evans.[2]

His second solo album, Introductions In The Dark, was released in 1989. Unusually for a jazz record the album entered the UK pop charts. Off the back of this Sheppard was awarded Best Album and Best Instrumentalist in 1989's British Jazz Awards,[6] became the subject of television documentaries for both the BBC and HTV, and toured the world, taking the first Western jazz group to play in Outer Mongolia.[6]

Sheppard formed his first big band, the Soft On The Inside Band, in 1990 for an album of the same name. The band featured many notable players, including drummer Han Bennick, trumpet player Claude Deppa and trombonist Gary Valente. This band morphed into In Co-Motion, which included keyboardist Steve Lodder and bassist Sylvan Richardson, who released an eponymous album in 1991. After this Sheppard signed a deal with Blue Note Records, who issued Rhythm Method in 1993. The In Co-Motion band was expanded for this release and dubbed Big Co-Motion. Big Co-Motion recorded a live album at London jazz club Ronnie Scott's, Delivery Suite, which was released by Blue Note in 1994.

The short TV movie The Music Practice, based on Andy Sheppard's music, took part in prestigious contest The Golden Prague, presented by Czech Television, in 1997 in Czech Republic.


Albums as leader[edit]

As co-leader[edit]

With Carla Bley and Steve Swallow

With Steve Lodder

  • Inclassifiable (Label Bleu, 1995), trio with Naná Vasconcelos
  • Moving Image (Verve, 1996), with Dudley Philips, Mark Mondesir, Johnny Taylor, Richard Ajileye, Bosco d'Olivera

With Rita Marcotulli

  • On the Edge of a Perfect Moment (Incipit, 2005)

With John Parricelli

  • P.S. (Provocateur, 2003)

With Sphere, Quartet with Geoff Williams, Peter Maxfield, and Alan Edwards

  • Sphere (Cadillac, 1981)
  • Present Tense (Cadillac, 1985), Tony Orrell replaces Edwards on drums

With Kathryn Tickell

  • Music for a New Crossing (Provocateur, 2001)

With Keith Tippett

  • 66 Shades of Lipstick (Editions EG, 1990), produced by Robert Fripp

As sideman[edit]

With Ketil Bjørnstad

With Carla Bley

With Curtis Clark

With Barbara Dennerlein

  • Hot Stuff (Enja, 1990)

With Gil Evans & Laurent Cugny

With Alex Gifford

  • Arcane (Real Works, 1994), with Sheppard on three tracks with Naná Vasconcelos a.o.

With John Harle

  • Terror and Magnificence, featuring Elvis Costello, Sarah Leonard & Andy Sheppard (Argo, 1996)
  • The Ship - Music from the BBC Television Series (BBC, 2002)

With Billy Jenkins and the Voice of God Collective

With Trevor Jones

With John Law and the Cornucopia Ensemble

  • Out of the Darkness (Slam, 2006)

With Tony Levin

  • Tony Levin Quartet Live in Viersen (1987, Rare, 2011)

With Joanna MacGregor

  • Deep River (2005)
  • Sidewalk Dances – Joanna MacGregor and the Britten Sinfonia Present Moondog (Sound Circus, 2006)

With Rita Marcotulli

  • Koinè (Le Chant du Monde, 2002)
  • Us and Them – Omaggio ai Pink Floyd (Casa del jazz, 2008)
  • Basilicata / Coast to Coast O.S.T. (Alice, 2011)

With John Martyn

With George Russell

With Steve Tilston

  • Such & Such (Market Square, 2003)

With Judie Tzuke


  1. ^ a b Stephenson, Matt (20 July 2001). "Andy Sheppard is a hard man to pin down". Hull Daily Mail, archived at LexisNexis. Hull, England: Mail News & Media. Retrieved 19 March 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Andy Sheppard: Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "Salisbury International Festival". Daily Echo, archived at LexisNexis. Salisbury, England: NewsQuest Media Group. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ Davis, Barry (31 August 2008). "Red Sea jazz veterans soar far beyond memory lane". The Jerusalem Post, archived at LexisNexis. Jerusalem, Israel: Mirkaei Tikshoret. Retrieved 19 March 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ "Jazz Jamaica to close Hull festival". Hull Daily Mail, archived at LexisNexis. Hull, England: Mail News & Media. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ a b c "Classics with a twist". Bristol Evening Post, archived at LexisNexis. Bristol, England: Bristol News and Media. Retrieved 19 March 2010. (subscription required (help)). 

External links[edit]