About the album
How this project came to fruition
At the Jazzahead Network Event 2013 in Bremen, Germany, I met Michele Ito from BFM Records, who in turn introduced me to Bob Sheppard. Shep and I had a wonderful, long conversation. We exchanged music, our albums and discussed possibilities of playing together. While driving back home to The Netherlands, I listened to Bob’s album Close Your Eyes. I fell in love with the music and his playing. Determined to reunite onstage, I tried to organize several projects, but due to very busy schedules our plans couldn't come together. In the end, it took us almost two years to be on stage playing in The Netherlands for a full week of concerts, masterclasses and live radio. We had an amazing time and became real friends. In 2016, Bob returned for another week of concerts and studio recordings. Shortly after, the former General Director of Challenge Records, Anne de Jong, offered me the opportunity to work on a number of audio productions as an independent producer. One of those projects became this very anticipated album. Bob decided to call John Beasley and Kendrick Scott and I flew to LA to record with them. As I was getting ready for the trip, I asked John Clayton, my former teacher and friend, where I could rent a great instrument. John kindly offered me his famous Ray Brown double bass, the one Ray used in the 1960s during his time with the Oscar Peterson Trio.
I believe “The Fine Line” is a beautiful statement that displays the great music and musicianship of Bob Sheppard and that of all the players involved. It demonstrates that if you strongly believe in the life of an idea, desire will find a way to turn it into a plan and in the end your dream can come true.
– Jasper Somsen