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Bill Dixon & Archie Shepp

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This set signaled both the end of collaboration between trumpeter-composer Dixon and tenorman Shepp and new beginnings for each. Dixon’s 7-tette featured, among others, saxophonists Howard Johnson, George Barrow, and Ken McIntyre (doubling on oboe) as well as bassist David Izenzon on the long-form, suite-like “Winter Song 1964” and “The 12th December.” The New York Contemporary Five was a cooperative group brought together for a 1963 Scandinavian tour, and featured in addition to Shepp, trumpeter Don Cherry, saxophonist John Tchicai, bassist Don Moore and drummer J.C. Moses. Though the group had essentially disbanded by 1964 (as this performance has the rhythm section of drummer Sunny Murray and bassist Ronnie Boykins), the date spotlights Shepp’s increasing value as a composer, even in this somewhat under-rehearsed variant that also features trumpeter Ted Curson. Cherry is featured on his own composition “Consequences” (here credited to Shepp), with the set rounded out by otherwise unrecorded pieces “Where Poppies Bloom” and “Like a Blessed Baby Lamb.”


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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