in 1971, which was first heard on an Impulse! album a year later. Most of that album, Attica Blues, is revisited, with some adjustments to the running order of the tunes. In addition, Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" is woven into the middle of the suite, and Shepp's "Mama Too Tight," the title track of a 1967 Impulse! album, serves as a coda.
The background: On September 9, 1971, a riot broke out in the State Correctional Facility in Attica, New York State. For five days, a large group of prisoners controlled part of the prison, where they held thirty-three guards and civilian staff hostage. On September 13, the prison was retaken by force. Thirty-nine people were killed: twenty-nine prisoners and ten hostages, all of them shot by guards and troopers.
Shepp recorded Attica Blues in response and tribute to the rebellion. The oratorio, which is drenched in the blues, is a nuanced work that, characteristically for Shepp, embodies as much prettily lyrical intimacy as it does raging, righteous anger. The libretto is sung by Shepp and Amina Claudine Myers