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Archie Shepp

Archie Shepp has been at various times a feared firebrand and radical, soulful throwback and contemplative veteran. He was viewed in the '60s as perhaps the most articulate and disturbing member of the free generation, a published playwright willing to speak on the record in unsparing, explicit fashion about social injustice and the anger and rage he felt. His tenor sax solos were searing, harsh, and unrelenting, played with a vivid intensity. But in the '70s, Shepp employed a fatback/swing-based R&B approach, and in the '80s he mixed straight bebop, ballads, and blues pieces displaying little of the fury and fire from his earlier days. Shepp studied dramatic literature at Goddard College, earning his degree in 1959. He played alto sax in dance bands and sought theatrical work in New York. But Shepp switched to tenor, playing in several free jazz bands. He worked with Cecil Taylor, co-led groups with Bill Dixon and played in the New York Contemporary Five with Don Cherry and John Tchicai. He led his own bands in the mid-'60s with Roswell Rudd, Bobby Hutcherson, Beaver Harris, and Grachan Moncur III. His Impulse albums included poetry readings and quotes from James Baldwin and Malcolm X. Shepp's releases sought to paint an aural picture of African-American life, and included compositions based on incidents like Attica or folk sayings. He also produced plays in New York, among them The Communist in 1965 and Lady Day: A Musical Tragedy in 1972 with trumpeter/composer Cal Massey. But starting in the late '60s, the rhetoric was toned down and the anger began to disappear from Shepp's albums. He substituted a more celebratory, and at times reflective attitude. Shepp turned to academia in the late '60s, teaching at SUNY in Buffalo, then the University of Massachusetts. He was named an associate professor there in 1978. Shepp toured and recorded extensively in Europe during the '80s, cutting some fine albums with Horace Parlan, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and Jasper van't Hof. Shepp continued to tour and record throughout the '90s and '00s. Moving from provocative free-jazz icon in his youth to elder jazz journeyman in his latter years, Shepp has appeared on a variety of labels over the years including Impulse, Byg, Arista/Freedom, Phonogram, Steeplechase, Denon, Enja, EPM, and Soul Note. ~ Ron Wynn & Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Impulse Story

1. Nalma

2. Los Olividados

3. The Girl From Ipanema

4. Malcolm, Malcolm - Semper Malcolm

5. Le Matin Des Noires

6. Scag (live)

7. Mama Too Tight

8. Damn If I Know (The Stroller)

9. Sophisticated Lady

10. Attica Blues

x

Track List: Bird Fire - A Tribute To Charlie Parker

1. Lover Man

2. Au Privave

3. Parker's Mood

4. Now's The Time

x

Track List: Yasmina, A Black Woman

1. Face 1 - Yasmina

2. Face 2 - Sonny's Back

3. Body And Soul

x

Track List: The Way Ahead

1. Damn If I Know

2. Frankenstein

3. Fiesta

4. Sophisticated Lady

5. New Africa

6. Bakai

x

Track List: Fire Music

1. Hambone

2. Los Olvidados

3. Malcolm, Malcolm - Semper Malcolm

x

Track List: Four For Trane

1. Syeeda's Song Flute

2. Mr. Syms

3. Cousin Mary

4. Naima

5. Rufus

x

Track List: Kwanza

1. Back Back

2. Spoo Pee Doo

3. New Africa

4. Slow Drag

5. Bakai

x

Track List: The Cry Of My People

1. Rest Enough (Song To Mother)

2. A Prayer

3. All God's Children Got A Home In The Universe

4. The Lady

5. The Cry Of My People

6. African Drum Suite, Part 1

7. African Drum Suite, Part 2

8. Come Sunday

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Great tune and artistry. No B.S.! Straight ahead! Nice piano riff. Reminds me of the song "Cool Jerk."
Which came first...the chicken or the egg? Ain't nobody here but us chickens. Gotta learn more about this historical treasure.
Report as inappropriate
A man true to the real meaning of it all. Sincerely would like to know if anyone has heard of any literature Mr. Shepp has written or spoken in or on. Note: anyone other than the foolish one named 'gross'.
Report as inappropriate
A strong black man
Report as inappropriate
Sucks dick
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luthuli
love this man, his sound, saw him in New Orleans at the Heritage festival a decade ago, fiery with a soulful economy of notes, inventful never ran out of ideas
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awesome
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Blistering!
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me too-but i never have socks.
Report as inappropriate
vallif
Whenever I hear his sound he knocks my socks offfff ???

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