may not have heard of American jazz musician Bob Sheppard but you've
almost certainly heard his work. Sheppard has laid his signature sax
sound down on more than 100 film and TV soundtracks and his CV reads
like a trip to the multiplex.
Some of his more recent movies include What Women
Want, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Meet the Parents, 102 Dalmatians,
As Good As It Gets, and Jerry Maguire. Oh, and don't forget the TV
shows such as Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live.
Not content with lucrative session work such as
this, Sheppard has also graced the recordings of a number of pop artists,
most notably Rickie Lee Jones, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Randy
Newman, and Manhattan Transfer, along with jazz vocalists Marilyn
Scott, Dianne Reeves, and Natalie Cole.
"I've arrived at a nice balance in my work," Sheppard
says of his prodigious output. "Sometimes it's session work keeping
me busy and sometimes it's a road gig." Two years ago he toured with
Joni Mitchell and immediately followed that with a stint with Steely
Dan. And one instrument is never enough for this
gifted jazzer. "Woodwind doubling is something that I've always done,"
he says "and it's regularly required of me on the job." For his soundtrack
duties on the Sky One show JAG he had to play the clarinet, soprano
and tenor saxophones, flute and alto flute.
With all this going on, it's small wonder that
Sheppard and his quartet rarely get the chance to tour Britain, but
he's determined to make the most of it. Tonight he begins an unprecedented
five-night residency at Edinburgh's newest jazz venue. The Bridge
Jazz Bar on South Bridge, where you'll have the chance to hear some
cuts from his latest side, In The Now.
Take this opportunity to catch him while you can,
because with Sheppard's workload it might be a long time before he
gets the chance to tour again. Bob Sheppard Quartet, The Bridge Jazz
Bar, South Bridge, tonight-Sunday, 9pm, £8, 0778 987 0100. This article: