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New Thing at Newport (Expanded Edition)

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Editors’ Notes

More than a simple long player, New Thing At Newport stands as a symbolic snapshot; the meaning of this package lies not only with the music, but with its context. Recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 2, 1969, the “New Thing” of the title refers to the term used at the time for the wave of young musicians who sought to probe the boundaries of jazz. They were following a trail started by Coltrane, whose own perpetual quest is represented in his two extended performances here which find him searching for a voice outside what his classic quartet could provide. Shepp’s performance in the second half of the album, with the throaty howl of his horn and his brazen taste for experimentation, acts as rejoinder and instigant to Coltrane. In the months following Newport, Coltrane would disband his immortal quartet and reconstitute his music with a whole new set of young free-thinking musicians. Shepp’s music developed parallel to Coltrane in a series of classic albums for Impulse and Actuel. A period of such intense transformation could never be traced to a single starting point; however, New Thing at Newport feels like the final moment before jazz was pushed off its precipice only to sprout a whole new set of wings.


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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