Archie Shepp/Siegfried Kessler: First Take (2005)
Versions of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," and Shepp's most recognizable composition, "Steam," are done with melodic care and structural freedom. The progressions of these songs rely greatly on the mood and feel of the duo and, many times, they wonderfully depart from commonly known versions. The "Misterioso/California Blues" medley, in particular, sways nicely to the suggestive winds of sorrow and hope. The closing number, Shepp's "Ujaama," deviates from the album's other songs by actually preserving its inherent, tight, straight-ahead groove. Even here, though, Shepp and Kessler's symbiotic relationship is what best defines the music.
An impressive, worthwhile album, First Take is being released on Archie Shepp's new label, his own Archie Ball Records.
Track Listing: Le Matin De Noirs; Lush Life; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Steam; Misterioso- California Blues; Ujaama.
Personnel: Archie Shepp: tenor sax, vocals; Siegfried Kessler: piano.
Record Label: Archie Ball Records
Style: Modern Jazz