ROSWELL RUDD AND ARCHIE SHEPP
LIVE IN NEW YORK
Archie Shepp-Tenor Saxophone, Piano, Vocals, Roswell Rudd-Trombone, Reggie
Workman-Bass, Andrew Cyrille-Drums, Grachan Moncur III-Trombone, Amira
Recorded live September 2000 N.Y.C.
Emarcy 013 482-2
1. Keep Your Heart Right
2. Acute Motelitis
5. We Are The Blues
8. Slide By Slide
10. Hope #2
I was very interested in listening to this issue as it features a group of
players who were at the cutting edge of the "Avant Garde" movement in the
mid to late nineteen-sixties. Shepp and the two trombonists worked, in various
combinations, on such albums as "Mama Too Tight", "Live In San Francisco"
and "The Way Ahead". These were all highly important documentations of the
music of their time, and amongst the first performances in this genre that
I was exposed to.Through time, maturity and experience, on the part of the
artists featured here, the music has altered somewhat, and the level of intensity
has become, in most places, more relaxed. This has the advantage of making
this type of music far more accessible to the average listener.
Archie Shepp has always been one of my favourite saxophone players. He has
a big sound and, whilst his playing is punctuated with shrieks, growls, wails
and distorted notes, the influence of Ben Webster is never far from the surface.
Over the years Shepp has added to his style so that he is capable of playing
in a modern/mainstream manner- which can be heard most effectively on the
opening selection, which, after a short recitation by Amira Baraka, drops
into a medium tempo "boppish" groove. Shepp is an able pianist and, whilst
not being the greatest vocalist in the world, acquits himself more than
adequately in a pleasing baritone voice a la Eckstine.
Roswell Rudd is a gifted composer and instrumentalist. His playing reveals
his roots in early jazz and passes through many styles along the way. He
is a trombonist who makes most effective use of the slide (rather than treating
the instrument as if it were an overgrown trumpet). Grachan Moncur is an
excellent foil for Rudd as can be heard on many selections, especially when
they are voiced together. The blending of their tones is most effective.
Reggie Workman is, quite simply, one of the great bass players in the history
of jazz. He has worked with seemingly everyone form John Coltrane to Don
Byron. His playing on this session provides the underpinning for each performance
and generates a real feeling of swing.
Andrew Cyrille is perhaps best known for his work with Cecil Taylor but proves
to be the ideal drummer for this group. He is ever present but unobtrusive
and interacts well with other musicians throughout.
The music is wide ranging from the swing of the title track through laid
back intensity of "We Are The Blues" to the rage of "Steam". This is music
that breaks away from the normal format of theme/solos/theme. There is a
strong feeling of ensemble throughout with contrapuntal lines, polyphony
and group improvisation all featuring at various points. The recitations
by Baraka are most apt and actually complement the music (I am not normally
a great fan of poetry and jazz ). I will certainly play this disc many times
and would strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a
D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in