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Album Review

Avant-garde tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp created a stir in 1977 when he recorded a set of hymns and folk melodies in melodic duets with pianist Horace Parlan. On February 6, 1980, he reunited with Parlan for a set of blues associated with Bessie Smith, and the following day, as a sort of sequel, Shepp played eight songs associated with Charlie Parker in collaboration with bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen. Although never a bebopper, Shepp does surprisingly well on such tunes as "Moose the Mooche," "Ornithology," "Yardbird Suite" and "Confirmation," even if he makes the mistake of doubling on his erratic soprano during a few numbers. Archie Shepp pays tribute to Bird not by copying him, but by being creative and playing Parker's repertoire in his own sound. Recommended.


Born: May 24, 1937 in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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