Shepherd's Stories was the 2013 release from Israeli/British drummer Asaf Sirkis and his trio of bassist Yaron Stavi and guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos. Much more of a straight jazz combo than his other trio Inner Noise, Sirkis and his band created nine fairly lengthy compositions here chock full of immediate melodies and wonderful musical performances. Guesting on one track is vocalist Sylwia Bialas, flute player Gareth Lockrane on another, and John Turville on Fender Rhodes on two.
Velvety guitar lines and acrobatic drums permeate the lively opener "1801", while more moody tones take over on "Eyes Tell", a great vehicle for Spiliotopoulos and his charming, nimble melodies. Lean bass grooves and tasty guitar lines highlight the undulating "Meditation", and Turville's classy Fender Rhodes adds an airy touch to the classic fusion sounds of "Dream Sister", another song featuring a blazing solo from Spiliotopoulos. Flute and melodic lead bass stand out on the lush "Together", and the trio lock in for some funky grooves over which Spiliotopoulos flies on the energetic title cut. The guitarist also goes for a lengthy jaunt on the epic closer "Two Part Melody", his speedy flights fluent and melodic, as he tosses in bits of Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, and Larry Carlton.
A nicely recorded and executed album, Shepherd's Stories features a wealth of top notch performances from these very capable musicians. Asaf Sirkis once again only surrounds himself with the best, as he continues to show the world why he is one of the best drummers in the world that's not yet on everyone's radar.
1. 1801 08:28
Eyes Tell 05:10
Dream Sister 06:15
Shepherds Stories 06:04
Two Part Melody 10:06