About the album
Going into the recording session for "Close Your Eyes", Sheppard simply wanted to create a sonically rich interactive jazz experience. One of the distinct advantages of dividing his time between his home base of Los Angeles and New York is that he has forged working relationships with the best musicians on both coasts. Anchoring this session is top NYC drummer Antonio Sanchez (renowned for his work with Pat Metheny, among others), who Sheppard met while collaborating with him on the Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Sextet and Michael Brecker´s Quindectet tours. Completing a powerful rhythm section Sheppard chose the young bassist, Gabe Noel, and split the piano and organ duties between longtime friends John Beasley and Alan Pasqua. Other key contributors on this inspired CD are trumpeter Alex Sipiagen, percussionist Walter Rodriguez and guitarist Larry Koonse.
"With his new release, "Close Your Eyes", Bob is putting on display not only his formidable musicianship as a multi-reed instrumentalist, but also as a composer/arranger. Bob's playing has always struck me as the perfect blend of searching and knowing. There is always an immediate sense of discovery buoyed by an intimate and thorough mastery of technique and knowledge of history. This allows him to lead you, the listener, on a journey, which is unpredictable, yet logical. The same thing is true for his composing and arranging, a fact which is evident on his treatment of Close Your Eyes, with its Hammond B3 organ figure in 5, its ominous bass pedal note, and the loose interplay of Antonio Sanchez and Gabe Noel. Bob's playing here gives me the impression of a tightrope act balancing between various tonalities vs. bass pedal note, and the hard swinging release of the bridge. Pasqua is particularly brilliant here with a sparse, economical B3 solo, which interacts beautifully with Sanchez's probing drum set accompaniment." (part of the linernotes, written by Billy Childs)