Thursday, February 3, 2011

Archie Shepp - Fire Music (1965)

Archie Shepp was one of the cats back in the early-60's doing that "new thing" and earned his stripes playing with Cecil Taylor's band. He would go on to play with the New York Contemporary Five alongside Don Cherry and ultimately catch the attention of some of the vanguards of the new school; most notably Ornette (Shepp would play a Coleman composition on his first "solo" record, credited alongside the Bill Dixon Quartet) and Coltrane (playing on the Love Supreme sessions but not making the final cut- he would appear on the 2002 out-takes of that record), playing on John's Ascension album as well as a split with the 'Trane titled New Thing at Newport from 1965.

Shepp's finest moment would be this record, Fire Music; cut at a time when his political consciousness and burgeoning Afrocentricity was reaching a fever pitch- Archie would include an homage to Malcolm X as well as a Duke Ellington standard and the premier bossa nova song of all-time (The Girl from Ipanema). Considered groundbreaking as well as erratic, it showcases a legend at the height of his creativity- done right after his Four for Trane sessions (revolutionary reworkings of some Coltrane tunes from earlier in the decade).

Check this one out!

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