SAMA (South African Music Awards) nominee, Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner, virtuoso, composer, multi-instrumentalist, internationally acclaimed jazz musician at age twenty-six, prolific poet are all descriptions one would not expect to hear of a university drop-out. There is no overstating of the power and poignancy of Kyle Shepherd’s musical prowess.
In celebration of the five-year anniversary of his trio, Shepherd recently launched his fourth album, ‘Dream State’ at the WITS Great Hall as part of the 969 festival. The conversation between Kyle Shepherd on piano, Shane Cooper on double bass and Jonno Sweetman on drums is a conversation of the inexpressible. The audience was let in on a secret dialogue between these artists as this trio played. The music was meditative and ethereal. There was something redemptive even within the melancholy. A sense of nostalgia was ignited for a time and a place not really discovered. The picture painted by the music was familiar, but not recognizable. The power of the music lay in its authenticity.
The music of Kyle Shepherd is not only beautiful, complex, innovative and refreshing, but is also necessary in this generation of music and artistic expression.