Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard | Deep River

Joanna MacGregor (p) and Andy Sheppard (s). Rec. 11-13 July 2005
Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard | Deep River
Although they have worked together in various live contexts, this is the first time that the pianist and saxophonist have recorded together. MacGregor chose the spirituals of the deep south as the material for the project, combined with interpretations of contemporary songs that they felt would work well alongside that idiom, and in purely instrumental versions. The duo are heard in straight acoustic mode on ‘Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’ and ‘Deep River’ as well as Johnny Cash’s ‘Spiritual’, Tom Waits’ ‘Georgia Lee’ and ‘Picture In A Frame’ plus Bob Dylan’s ‘Ring Them Bells’.

They concentrate on simplicity of line, purity of sound and depth of feeling in these pieces. Elsewhere, sampling, multi-tracking and other post-production manipulation are used to create a more complex and spiky textural feel. Nick Cave’s ‘The Mercy Seat’ receives a more turbulent treatment, while Alabama 3’s ‘Up Above My Head’ features a guitar sample from the band’s own version, and also appears as a very different re-mix by Seb Rochford, as does William and Versey Smith’s ‘Everybody Help The Boys Come Home.’ Will Gregory and Matt Fairclough produced two tracks each, adding further variation to an already multifaceted project. 

Kenny Mathieson