Tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp, who was one of the enfant terribles of the free jazz generation in the 1960s, once said, seemingly uncharacteristically, "You can hear every minute of every hour of every day of every year a player puts into practicing his horn when he plays a ballad." He was being prophetic, of course, as this date from 1992 suggests. Teamed with pianist Horace Parlan – with whom he recorded the magnificent duet of spirituals Goin' Home – bassist Wayne Dockery, and drummer Steve McCraven, Shepp leads the quartet through an astonishing series of ballads that are as revelatory for their understatement as they are for their musical aplomb.
"Serious collectors and devoted Sheppherds only…" By 1985 Archie Shepp's tone on tenor had declined quite a bit from just a few years earlier. This should have been a strong set for the sidemen (trumpeter Enrico Rava, keyboardist Siegfried Kessler, bassist Wilbur Little and drummer Clifford Jarvis) are excellent and the repertoire is both diverse and challenging. However Shepp fouls up "Naima" by playing his out-of-tune soprano, talks and sings on the 18-minute "Little Red Moon" more than he plays tenor and his sax sounds quite sloppy on "Whisper Not" and "Sweet Georgia Brown." Despite some good moments from the supporting cast, this is one to skip.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. A real gem from the great Archie Shepp – an overlooked treasure from his years as a straight jazz musician – a time we come to appreciate more and more as the years go by! The Shepp heard here is one who's still got all the raw tone and bite of the old days, but also finds a way to swing things on a set of familiar standards – so that he's cutting these great raspy lines out of tunes you might already know – but which are taking on a whole new life in the process.
From 1964, Archie Shepp's first date as a leader featured – as one would expect from the title – four tunes by John Coltrane, his mentor, his major influence, and his bandleader. The fact that this album holds up better than almost any of Shepp's records nearly 40 years after the fact has plenty to do with the band he chose for this session, and everything to do with the arranging skills of trombonist Roswell Rudd. The band here is Shepp on tenor, John Tchicai on alto, Rudd on trombone, Trane's bassist Reggie Workman, and Ornette Coleman's drummer Charles Moffett. Even in 1964, this was a powerhouse, beginning with a bluesed-out wailing version of "Syeeda's Song Flute." This version is ingenious, with Shepp allowing Rudd to arrange for solos for himself and Tchicai up front and Rudd punching in the blues and gospel in the middle, before giving way to double time by Workman and Moffett. The rawness of the whole thing is so down-home you're ready to tell someone to pass the butter beans when listening.
The jazz world was immersed in controversy in 1965 when the bands of John Coltrane and Archie Shepp appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. Coltrane's own style was undergoing constant evolution, his lines more convoluted and explosive, his sound increasingly ranging to vocal cries and metallic abrasions. He had also become a figurehead of the "avant-garde" or "New Thing," an established star who provided a public forum for younger musicians and the creative ferment largely taking place out of public hearing.
The unique quartet recordings by Archie Shepp and Bill Dixon. Their only known recorded works together consist of the studio quartet album made for Savoy in October 1962 - presented here on CD for the first time ever. As a bonus to this interesting album, we have added Archie Shepp’s only other recording session for the Savoy label, with the New York Contemporary Five including Don Cherry on one track; and Bill Dixon’s second recording session, in a septet format.
In their series of Jazz greats, TDK release on DVD the first part of a jazz night in Torino in 1977 with famed sax player Archie Shepp and his Quartet. Archie Shepp was much discussed among jazz fans during the 1970s as it was becoming increasingly clear that a profound change was taking place in his approach to music and even his physical appearance. For years he had been the embodiment of black resistance, dressing in traditional African garments and protesting against the suppression of black people. But now he was wearing suits and had given up his free style of playing in favour of interpretations of known pieces from the jazz tradition. Inevitably, the changes upset some people and pleased others. But Shepp never made it easy to judge him, and ignoring the talk he went ahead on his straight path, which had already led him to a place among the jazz greats while he was still a young man.
Joachim Kuhn, the great German jazz pianist, has played piano with Ornette Coleman – now he partners another saxophone legend of the 1960s American new wave in this warmly lyrical and distinctive duet with Archie Shepp. Shepp's signature is a robust yet hollow-toned and slippery sound that joins the sumptuousness of early jazz saxists to the multiphonic abrasiveness of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler.