Trio Libero

I write every day, for at least two hours. One of my long-ago writing teachers told me that was what writers do. They write, consistently, the way athletes work out or musicians practice. But writing is a solitary activity, and I enjoy the accompaniment of music when I’m at the keyboard, even though lots of music fights with the concentration necessary to the act of writing. So I prefer instrumental music when I’m working, mostly jazz. In that regard, I must commend this album to writers and to jazz lovers alike. Saxophonist Andy Sheppard is a Brit, and I can count the number of really great British jazzmen on the fingers of one hand, starting with the long dead Tubby Hayes. I would add Sheppard to that list based on this album alone. His sense of invention is lavish, as on a standard like “I Am Always Chasing Rainbows,” a song he makes new again, finding previously unimaginable depths of emotion in it. His playing—augmented by double-bassist Michel Benita and drummer Sebastian Rochford—is both cerebral and sensual, and it isn’t just background music for people busy doing other things. This is music for the mind, whether experienced in conjunction with another activity, or heard with fully focused attention. Check out “Whereveryougoigoto,” a standout track, then get back to work.