Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Archie Shepp - Montreux Two

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  • Published on Thursday, 28 November 2013 10:38
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Archie Shepp - Montreux Two

 

Archie Shepp: Montreux Two

Born in Ft. Lauderdale in 1937 and raised in Philadelphia, Archie Shepp’s early musical training included tenor sax, clarinet and piano. After graduating from Goddard College in 1959, he relocated to New York City. Over the next decade he worked or recorded with Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, jointly led groups with Bill Dixon and took part in the band the New York Contemporary Five with Don Cherry and John Tchicai. Though his background included jazz and r&b, by the mid-1960s, Shepp became a proponent of free jazz or the “New Thing” as it was called for a time, often delivering intense, furious atonal solos. As he spent more time in Europe beginning in the mid-1970s, Shepp’s playing lost its harsh edge and became more accessible to mainstream jazz audiences, as he recorded meetings with Horace Parlan, Chet Baker, Lars Gullin and Mal Waldron, while also recording standards and ballads for release in Japan.
This 1975 set from the Montreux Jazz Festival, features a popular quintet that he recorded several album with that includes trombonist Charles Majid Greenlee, pianist Dave Burrell, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Beaver Harris. The leader plays soprano on his “Steam,” a playful jazz waltz with potent solos by Shepp and Greenlee. On tenor sax for Benny Golson’s “Along Comes Betty,” Shepp’s breezy setting bypasses the theme, playing an often gritty improvisation, contrasting with Burrell’s driving bop solo and an intricate effort by Brown. The final track, “Blues For Donald Duck,” is another original, a curious atonal piece with Shepp’s darting tenor sax fueled by Burrell’s rapid fire bursts on the piano. It’s clear throughout this concert set that Shepp is an artist in transition, still maintaining some of his adventurous spirit of the previous decade but moving toward a more melodic framework. There is something for everyone in this diverse album.

 

 

 
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