Rye Arts Festival books jazz giant Andy Sheppard

Andy Sheppard
Andy Sheppard

RYE Arts Festival has pulled off a coupe by booking one of Britain’s foremost tenor and soprano saxophonists Andy Sheppard.

Andy steps in to replace the Tony Coe Quartet which had to pull out of the September 24 concert at Rye Community Centre.

After being introduced to the music of John Coltrane at the age of 19, Sheppard then toured Europe with Bristol based quartet Sphere.

Sheppard signed to Island’s Antilles label and released his self-titled debut album in 1987.

He has released material on the influential ECM label and toured the globe with his band, being a member of the first western jazz group to perform in Outer Mongolia.

Sheppard also formed a trio, Inclassificable, again with Steve Lodder and the brilliant Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos.

They devised the music for the award winning dance piece Modern Living, choreographed by Jonathan Lunn. Inclassificable also played at major festivals in Macedonia, Austria, Norway, Istanbul and London and released a self-titled album on French label, Label Bleu in 1995.

Often described as a serial collaborator, Sheppard has worked with an astonishing range of musical partners. As well as Carla Bley, George Russell and Gil Evans, he has played with Indian violinist Shankar.

For the Rye concert he is joined by percussionist and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra.

Kuljit is also a composer and record producer and it was in this role that he is credited with being one of the leading pioneers of bringing bhangra music to the UK.

Andy Stuart, from the Festival committee, said: “We were thrilled to be able to get a performer of Andy’s stature.

Andy and Kuljit have recorded together on three albums in the last decade and their fusion is sure to provide a memorable evening of music.”

Tickets for this year’s festival have been selling well, with some events already sold out.

The Festival covers everything from literature to music of all types, dance, drama and comedy and takes place in a variety of venues in Rye and the surrounding area. www.ryeartsfestival.