Archie Shepp - Four For Trane To Live At Newport 1965 Revisited

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2023 release

Tenor saxophone player and composer Archie Shepp had been at the forefront of progressive jazz in the early 1960s by collaborating with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, and The New York Contemporary Five. But he didn’t truly burst into the jazz consciousness until John Coltrane helped him get a contract with high-profile Impulse Records. Paying him back on his first album for the label, 1964’s Four for Trane, Shepp provides unique interpretations of Coltrane compositions in the company of Roswell Rudd on trombone, Alan Shorter on on flugelhorn, John Tchicai on tenor saxophone, Reggie Workman on bass, and Charles Moffett on drums. Rudd helps with the arrangements, and this gives the music a unique flair, with raw and gutsy tenor saxophone sections on "Syeeda's Song Flute" and "Mr. Syms." They are able to stretch out on the ballad "Naima" using rich texture, which continues into the final track, the sole original "Rufus (Swung, His Face at Last to the Wind, Then His Neck Snapped).“

The following year, Impulse released a split LP with tracks from John Coltrane’s and Archie Shepp’s performances at the Newport Jazz Festival. Since Shepp was one of the primary acolytes of Coltrane, this format works well, with his selections from this album rounding out this particular disc. Although his tenor saxophone has a rougher and grittier sound reminiscent of earlier swing tenors (and setting a precedent for the likes of David Murray to come), it was immediately recognizable among his contemporaries. Here he is accompanied by a highly percussive unit featuring Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Barre Phillips on bass, and Joe Chambers on drums. They lay down an ever-shifting rhythm for Shepp to improvise over on "Gingerbread, Gingerbread Boy" and "Call Me By My Rightful Name," among others. Shepp’s rough-hewn saxophone matches them well, as does his strong speaking voice on the anti-heroin jazz/poetry piece "Scag.“

While the music on this disc must have come as something of a shock to those who were unprepared for it, listening in historical context reveals it to be an excellent example of the rapidly evolving state of jazz in the mid-1960s by one of its most widely known practitioners.

– Tim Niland


SKU 752156115021
Barcode # 752156115021
Brand ezz-thetics / Hat Hut Records

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