Opinions on Archie Shepp?

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Never really heard a record of his I disliked. I particularly enjoy Live At San Francisco on Impulse. Three For a Quarter, One For a Dime, from the same period with the same group (featuring the great Roswell Rudd on trombone) is also really good. If Morgman wants the "more conventional side of his catalogue" I really wouldn't recommend Blase / Pan-African or any of those BYG ones. You might like The Way Ahead from the year before though.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Sunday, 20 March 2005 00:29 (fifteen years ago) link

U causin some serious aggro on that cure thread Stormy! lol

Morgman (Morg), Sunday, 20 March 2005 00:31 (fifteen years ago) link

IIRC RR was playing with him at Guelph too. Also Reggie Workman(?).

xpost Yeah but "In-Between Days"? Letting me down, man!

sundar subramanian (sundar), Sunday, 20 March 2005 00:32 (fifteen years ago) link

I love 'Fire music' Stormy. Its some of the most original jazz i have ever heard and, i was also pleasantly suprised when i first played 'The cry of my people'. If any of his albums r similar 2 those then i am on the right track man. I find Archie himself and his music 2 b an enigma!

Morgman (Morg), Sunday, 20 March 2005 00:35 (fifteen years ago) link

I'll second 'Looking at Bird' as another good one. Great bass on that album.

Patrick South (Patrick South), Sunday, 20 March 2005 04:19 (fifteen years ago) link

mama too tight!

mullygrubbr (bulbs), Sunday, 20 March 2005 05:11 (fifteen years ago) link

Try Four for Trane. Blase has some really nice moments, it's pretty free. Live at the Pan African Festival is one I really like but I think I'm in the minority. It's a shambling droney percussive and rhythmic thing with blowing over the top. Grachan Moncur is on it, I think. It's not Shepp's best playing but I think the African rhythms suit his style pretty well.

mcd (mcd), Sunday, 20 March 2005 21:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Irritatingly honk-y.

Hurting (Hurting), Sunday, 20 March 2005 21:18 (fifteen years ago) link

name this critic:

"I continue to listen gamely to Archie Shepp (who is wearing a beard now) in the hope that one day it will all cease to sound like "Flight of the Bumble Bee" scored for bagpipes and concrete-mixer, but Mama Too Tight (Impulse) hasn't managed this...
...Shepp says he is trying to make order out of chaos, but it sounds more to me as if he thinks that if you look at chaos long enough, order will eventually emerge. Or so you think."

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Sunday, 20 March 2005 21:18 (fifteen years ago) link

sounds like Mr. "Honky Chateau is a better record than Beefheart's Clear Spot" Christgau to me. He's the only major critic I can think of who routinely displays ignorance and a tin ear like that.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Sunday, 20 March 2005 21:24 (fifteen years ago) link

(and please note this is AN opinion not mine.)

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Sunday, 20 March 2005 21:30 (fifteen years ago) link

Live In Antibes (a 2CD set which features Alan Shorter and Clifford Thornton) is also excellent. The rest of the band is three French dudes, one of whom is a clearly Sharrock-derived skronk guitar player who adds a surprising amount to the goings-on. Great sub-Grand Funk Railroad drum solo at one point, too.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Sunday, 20 March 2005 22:19 (fifteen years ago) link

search: "trouble in mind" (which took me years to find), his "blues" record.

i'm not as big a fan of "attica blues" as i think i should be.

He's the only major critic I can think of who routinely displays ignorance and a tin ear like that.

you've got to be kidding! most major critics have more than a few such blind spots, or idiosyncrasies of taste. christgau is more dependable than most, i've found.

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Sunday, 20 March 2005 22:24 (fifteen years ago) link

'fire music' was a really important LP for me a while (er, 7-8 years?) back. i discovered it in my school's music library and would sit listening to it on headphones for hours.

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Sunday, 20 March 2005 22:26 (fifteen years ago) link

'blase/pan african' is, at the very very least, interesting as far as free jazz goes...and pretty great for that. 'Blase' I grew to like over time and 'pan african' i loved from the intro; it didn't even have to get into the music, but once it did it was gd... an attempt at world music without being called that - if anyone has any recommendations along those lines I'd like to hear it.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 20 March 2005 22:29 (fifteen years ago) link

i really like Shepp's "The Cry of my People" and "Attica Blues". they both mix gospel choirs, funk, soul and beautiful jazz. wonderful albums. they remind me of the two Eddie Gale albums on blue note.

i'm not sure i would stray away from Blasé. it's not straight ahead, and there's a bit of firey playing on it (i think, it's been a long time since i've heard it), but it's really nice. weirdo blues harmonica playing, singing, post-coltrane modal stuff. sorta reminds me of some of the Art Ensemble of Chicago stuff coming out on BYG at the same time. i'm not the hugest fan of the second disc on that, it's a really crazy live document of Shepp playing with a bunch of african musicians droning about. really weird.

and Julio, if you like that disc, go get Ornette Coleman's "Dancing In Your Head" like now. the first two songs are wonderfully happy, bouncy weirdo electric Harmolodics playing. the second two songs are just like this second CD. it's Ornette playing in Morocco. very similar sound. droney and squeaky.

The JaXoN 5 (JasonD), Monday, 21 March 2005 06:04 (fifteen years ago) link

thread already exists

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 21 March 2005 06:52 (fifteen years ago) link

btw the critic was larkin

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 21 March 2005 07:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Larkin, hmmm...isn't he that English critic-moron who compared Charlie Parker to Woody Woodpecker and expressed relief at the death of Trane?

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Monday, 21 March 2005 11:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Yep, the same Larkin who was one of England's greatest poets of the 20th century on the side.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 21 March 2005 11:45 (fifteen years ago) link

yes. a thoroughly nasty man and a great poet

he also described the 'passionless creep' of a solo by miles davis and was subjected to the riposte 'there's only one passionless creep in that sentence and it aint davis' by some wag, somewhere

debden, Monday, 21 March 2005 11:47 (fifteen years ago) link

thus: Larkin's law, which I am currently applying to the work of M.I.A.: admire the art, try to forget the person.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 21 March 2005 11:52 (fifteen years ago) link

larkin on miles' ESP: "It sounds like the soundtrack to a Swedish cartoon remake of Henry V."

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 21 March 2005 11:53 (fifteen years ago) link

jason - I already have 'dancing...' but forgot to mention it! If you can think of anymore though...

wz a bit tired when I posted that last night but I think that free jazz blowing over singing/raps is so totally unexplored - maybe I ougth to start a thread - maybe it is and I haven't heard enough. That's why that 2 CD set of shepp's is really good to me (and got better as I heard more free stuff and realized the possibilities contained within). xp

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 21 March 2005 11:58 (fifteen years ago) link

Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction, if you don't already have it, is urgent and key listening in this area (is indeed one of my top 20 albums by anyone), as is Time Of The Last Persecution by Bill Fay as discussed wherever else we discussed it on ILM, Les Stances A Sophie by Fontella Bass & AECO and of course Ian Dury at his ('77-80) peak. Then there's the first Working Week album with the bonus 12" single "Stella Maria" (Keith and Julie Tippetts howling into the beyond as Louis Moholo does battle with a drum machine) plus Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (esp. "Team Spirit" on the latter with George Khan and Gary Windo blowing their heads off while being distorted by Eno on "direct inject anti-jazz ray gun"). Plus No Wave and Arto and James Chance and all that.

Nice to see Morley citing Centipede in his Polar Bear review in yesterday's OMM. Septober Energy doesn't entirely work but at its best it's a phenomenal thing (esp. side four with its "Hey Jude" singalong over 40-odd horns and strings freaking out).

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 21 March 2005 12:08 (fifteen years ago) link

thx! - ha yeah also got 'science fiction' that's prob one of my very faves by him. have heard these apart from dury, wyatt, working week, centipede...anything from the hip-hop end of things, anyone?

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 21 March 2005 12:36 (fifteen years ago) link

Um, Antipop vs. Matthew Shipp maybe? I know I've heard some other examples, but the idea doesn't especially excite me.

Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 21 March 2005 13:52 (fifteen years ago) link

Marcello, have you heard that Polar Bear record?

NickB (NickB), Monday, 21 March 2005 14:00 (fifteen years ago) link

(julio reply)

the el-p blue series continuum album is definitely worth a listen if you can track down a copy.

(nick b reply)

yep i got sent a copy a couple of months ago. it's a bit like ornette's acoustic quartet gone glitch. the centipede/tortoise link in morley's omm review yesterday was inspired. definitely worth getting.

all of polar bear were on that paul the girl record from a couple of years back which no one seemed to like except me. kind of what i hoped the last pj harvey album would have been like.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 21 March 2005 14:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Julio - For "an attempt at world music without being called that" try the Getachew Mekyura record from the Ethiopiques series. It's probably the closest thing to Pan-African that I can think of but also a very singular record, it reminds me of some Sun Ra. The sax playing is more benevolent than Shepp's.

mcd (mcd), Monday, 21 March 2005 14:33 (fifteen years ago) link

really jordan? Rapping to free blowing/percussion (and maybe not so much last poets) sounds unexplored to me but maybe like you seem to imply you've heard some and the execution hasn't been that great. thx mcd and mc. mcd yeah I've ehard gd things abt that disc on the ethipiques thread and I must get on with getting a few discs from that series.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 21 March 2005 16:45 (fifteen years ago) link

"It sounds like the soundtrack to a Swedish cartoon remake of Henry V."

In a bad way? In a good way? How can this NOT be in a good way? It makes me want to put it on and listen, anyway: it's a great line.

V4l Wilm3r (of all unexpected ppl, given her politix and who SHE interviewed and wrote abt) is always very forgiving of Larkin-the-critic: "He was writing about jazz when almost no one else was in Britain" being the gist of her line on him.

mark s (mark s), Monday, 21 March 2005 17:53 (fifteen years ago) link

Larkin had unapologetically hidebound tastes -- a swingist?

I'll take Pharoah Sanders or Marion Brown over Archie Shepp. And I'll take Larkin over any US poet/jazz critic...Kerouac? RJ Gleason?

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Monday, 21 March 2005 18:21 (fifteen years ago) link

his deepest taste wz pre-swing really: bechet, for example

mark s (mark s), Monday, 21 March 2005 18:27 (fifteen years ago) link

i.e. the stuff he liked when he was 19, as opposed to "coltrane's cobra-coaxing cacophonies of calcutta"

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 07:05 (fifteen years ago) link

i.e. "coltrane's cobra-coaxing cacophonies of calcutta"

Gawd-DAMN, that IS great poetry! (*Not that I have a clue about the stuff, o'course.)

"Ralph J. Gleason?!" [scoffs]

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 07:50 (fifteen years ago) link

...Seriously tho, that's a pretty cool alliterative phrase.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 07:54 (fifteen years ago) link

haha, yeah, gotta tip my cap at that one.

Although again, as mark said, it makes him sound GREAT! Immediately makes me think of that infamous "Afro-Blue" from Live At Birdland...

Stormy Davis (diamond), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 08:39 (fifteen years ago) link

I figured that quote was Stanley Crouch the alter-Philip Larkin.

mcd (mcd), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 15:23 (fifteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
attica blues is getting reissued on 180 gram vinyl!

jmeister (jmeister), Friday, 15 April 2005 01:50 (fifteen years ago) link

"trouble in mind" is a beautiful album

m0stly clean (m0stly clean), Friday, 15 April 2005 02:07 (fifteen years ago) link

five years pass...

I'm basically always in the mood for version of Archie. Right now, this one is killing it (although Archie is hardly the only bit of awesomeness):

matt2, Thursday, 14 April 2011 16:37 (nine years ago) link

Too bad Shepp and Roach fell out: http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/775/775.F2d.452.84-1571.html

Funky Mustard (People It's Bad) (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 14 April 2011 23:12 (nine years ago) link

Is that a duo record?

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Friday, 15 April 2011 00:33 (nine years ago) link

Yep, it's a duo record.

This week I'm really feeling Life At The Donaueschingen Music Festival: http://www.discogs.com/Archie-Shepp-Life-At-The-Donaueschingen-Music-Festival/release/2425397

Basically a 44 minutes piece entitled "One for the Trane" split across two sides of vinyl. Incredible.

Here's the first side:

matt2, Tuesday, 19 April 2011 18:34 (nine years ago) link

five years pass...

Mamma Too Tight is way underrated on this thread imo. Apologies if anyone thought this was an obit revive.

calzino, Wednesday, 14 September 2016 14:20 (three years ago) link

Magic of Ju-Ju is stellar. Brilliant running-or-cycling-through-busy-city music.

dinnerboat, Wednesday, 14 September 2016 15:47 (three years ago) link

thanks for inspiring me to listen to Magic of Ju-Ju yesterday. It ruled.

I wish you could see my home. It's... it's so... exciting (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 15 September 2016 15:34 (three years ago) link

Attica Blues is such an odd record. Bizarre to see it praised as his best upthread lol old ilm

Οὖτις, Thursday, 15 September 2016 15:39 (three years ago) link

There's good stuff on it sure, but some p dire stuff too. If I had to pick one it might be Blase tbh.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 15 September 2016 15:40 (three years ago) link

So many good ones in the late '60s and early '70s - The Way Ahead, Mama Too Tight, Blasé, The Magic of Ju-Ju, Live in San Francisco, Poem for Malcolm, Yasmina, a Black Woman...one that gets overlooked a lot is Archie Shepp and the Full Moon Ensemble, a double LP with Alan Shorter, Clifford Thornton, and a French rhythm section (Joseph Dejean on electric guitar, Beb Guerin on bass, and Claude Delcloo on drums).

Don Van Gorp, midwest regional VP, marketing (誤訳侮辱), Thursday, 15 September 2016 16:05 (three years ago) link

I think another of his underrated albums is the Three For Freedom twin piano trio one with Waldron/Tchangodei, him and Waldron made a few fine duet albums and worked well together - not that I'm saying they are essential but they are personal faves.

calzino, Thursday, 15 September 2016 17:07 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

81 years old today. The Magic of Ju-Ju may be one of the most remarkable tracks cut in the “New Thing” era.

Scam jam, thank you ma’am (Sparkle Motion), Thursday, 24 May 2018 15:49 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

been on a Shepp revival/new discovery thing lately

3 favorite songs all over 18 minutes:

"A Portrait of Robert Thomson (As a Young Man)"
"The Magic of Ju-Ju"
"Yasmina, A Black Woman"

nicky lo-fi, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 13:18 (two years ago) link

saw this dude at jazzfest this year, he's so fuckin great

flamenco blorf (BradNelson), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 18:24 (two years ago) link

I interviewed him back in 2014. It was awesome. I'd love to talk to him again.

grawlix (unperson), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 18:30 (two years ago) link

That may be the only interview where a) Archie is asked about Bill Dixon, and/or b) he actually mentions Bill Dixon.

Bill would get annoyed because interviewers always asked him about working with Archie; "Did you ever ask Archie about working with me?"

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 18:39 (two years ago) link

I still love his Three For Freedom lp with Mal Waldron and some mystery 2nd pianist called Tchangodei and the other downbeat and bluesy duo albums with Waldron of which I can't remember the names of!

calzino, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 19:09 (two years ago) link

one year passes...


The lessons he learned from Shepp’s records were finally put to use last year, when Moore and his octogenarian uncle officially collaborated for the first time during one marathon session at Blue Room Productions in Herndon, Va. The result is “Ocean Bridges,” a fully improvised album on which Moore, Shepp and DJ/producer/drummer/vibraphonist Damu the Fudgemunk (a.k.a. Earl Davis), along with several hip-hop and jazz scene stalwarts of the D.C. region, tap into both of those genres’ more experimental sides and ultimately find a sound that isn’t fully aligned with either one.

j., Saturday, 23 May 2020 05:45 (one month ago) link

can't wait to hear this and Damu the Fudgemunk is such an inspired moniker!

calzino, Saturday, 23 May 2020 09:29 (one month ago) link

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