Monday, December 7, 2009

Archie SHEPP - Fire Music 1965

Archie SHEPP - Fire Music 1965


Tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp was an essential voice in the revolutionary jazz of the 1960s, creating a music that insistently linked art and social issues. He was also a musician who fused the past and present in jazz, leapfrogging over bebop to develop a sound that combined the expressive breathiness of Ben Webster with the new vocabulary of free jazz. Those qualities are much in evidence in these 1965 sessions.

The principal band here is a sextet, and it brings a primal force to Shepp's charging, complex, multidimensional compositions. But within this potent brew, individual voices distinguish themselves. Altoist Marion Brown's lines always invoke the blues, while trumpeter Ted Curson, a veteran of Charles Mingus's bands, provides a sense of detached perspective. The riffing horns create a backdrop for some of Shepp's most volatile orations on "Hambone" and "Los Olvidados" as his tenor seems to shout, shriek, strut, and cajole with a life of its own. A live septet version of "Hambone" is even more turbulent than the studio take. The rest of the Album heads off in a variety of directions. Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss" is recast with some fresh dissonance. Taking his initial cues from Webster, Shepp goes on to turn the ballad into something very much his own, though still Ellingtonian in spirit. His arrangement of "Girl from Ipanema" adds unlikely fire to the Jobim tune, while "Malcolm," a poem inspired by the assassination of Malcolm X, has Shepp's voice and tenor accompanied by just bass and drums. While these diversions might now seem forced or melodramatic.
Archie Shepp- Tenor Sax
Ted Curson- Trumpet
Joseph Orange- Trombone
Marion Brown- Alto Sax
Reggie Johnson- Double Bass (except track 3)
Joe Chambers- Drums (except track 3)
David Izenzon- Double Bass (on track 3)
J.C. Moses- Drums (on track 3)
A1. Hambone   12:28
A2. Los Olvidados   8:53
B1. Malcolm, Malcolm - Semper Malcolm   4:48
B2. Prelude to a Kiss   4:49
B3. The Girl from Ipanema   8:33

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