Andy Sheppard – sax tenore | Rita Marcotulli – pianoforte
Born in Rome, Marcotulli is the daughter of a sound engineer who collaborated with Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone, among others. She started playing piano at five years old and graduated in classical music from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory.
Marcotulli began her professional career in the early 1980s and made her first recording in 1984. Thanks to a series of prestigious collaborations, including Richard Galliano, Chet Baker, Enrico Rava, Kenny Wheeler, Peter Erskine, and Steve Grossman, in a few years she established herself as an important figure in the contemporary jazz scene.
In 1987 Marcotulli was nominated for the Best Young Talent Award in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. In 1988 she toured in the U.S. and in Europe with Billy Cobham, also appearing in Cobham ‘s album Incoming. In 1996 she duetted with Pat Metheny at the Sanremo Music Festival. She has also had a long-term musical relationship with Dewey Redman.
Marcotulli’s style largely relies on improvisation, and her influences include Brazilian music, African music and Indian music.
Also active as a composer of incidental music and musical scores for films, in 2010 Marcotulli won the David di Donatello for Best Score as well as the Ciak d’oro and the Nastro d’Argento in the same category for the score of Rocco Papaleo’s Basilicata Coast to Coast
Sheppard was born in Warminster, Wiltshire, England, in 1957. 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.
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 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.
’87 also saw Sheppard join George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra and tour with Gil Evans.
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, 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.
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, trumpeter Claude Deppa and trombonist Gary Valente. This band turned 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 TV movie The Music Practice, based on Andy Sheppard’s music, took part in the contest The Golden Prague, presented by Czech Television, in 1997 in Czech Republic.
Una collaborazione nata dall’incontro dei due nel 1988 che ha prodotto negli anni concerti nei più importanti festival ed alcuni dischi fondamentali. I due si sono incontrati grazie alla loro comune passione per François Truffaut. La loro amicizia si è ulteriormente cementata quando Andy ha partecipato all’album Koiné di Rita, e infine hanno perfezionato il loro sodalizio musicale attraverso i numerosi concerti live che hanno tenuto insieme in tutta Europa.
Andy Sheppard è uno dei principali sassofonisti europei e uno dei pochissimi musicisti britannici ad aver avuto un impatto significativo sulla scena jazz internazionale, suonando e scrivendo per allestimenti da solista a big band e orchestra da camera. Ha registrato per etichette come Blue Note, Verve, Label Bleu e Provocateur. Sheppard ha registrato e sviluppato nuova musica con artisti diversi come il percussionista brasiliano Nana Vasconcelos, il violinista indiano L.Shankar, la musicista folk inglese Kathryn Tickell, i compositori classici contemporanei John Harle e Joanna MacGregor, il cantautore John Martyn, e alcuni tra i più importanti compositori del jazz contemporaneo come Carla Bley e George Russell.
Rita Marcotulli comincia a suonare professionalmente negli anni settanta collaborando con artisti internazionali come Chet Baker, Jon Christensen, Billy Cobham, Peter Erskine, Steve Grossman, Joe Henderson, Helène La Barrière, Joe Lovano, Charlie Mariano, Marilyn Mazur, Pat Metheny, Sal Nistico, Michel Portal, Kenny Wheeler, Noa, Norma Winstone. Nel 1987 viene votata miglior nuovo talento attraverso un sondaggio della rivista Musica Jazz e l’anno seguente si trasferisce in Svezia, dove rimane fino al 1992. In Italia collabora fra gli altri con Ambrogio Sparagna, Pino Daniele, Gianmaria Testa. Nel 1996 accompagna Pat Metheny in un’esibizione al Festival di Sanremo. Per il cinema ha realizzato la colonna sonora del film Basilicata coast to coast grazie alla quale ha ricevuto il Ciak d’oro, il Nastro d’argento alla migliore colonna sonora ed il David di Donatello per il miglior musicista (prima donna in assoluto a ricevere questo riconoscimento).