Roswell Rudd / Archie Shepp: Live in New York
Fast forward to 2000.
On Roswell Rudd and Archie Shepp — Live in New York, Shepp (playing tenor sax, piano and crooning) is in top avant-garde form in the company of trombone titans Roswell Rudd and Grachan Moncur III, percussionist extraordinaire Andrew Cyrille and ever–surprising bassist Reggie Workman. The CD sizzles with excitement. The one downer — as odd as a seven–dollar bill — is the inclusion of Amiri Baraka (“We Are the Blues”) with a hideously boring poem about the blues.
One of the most endearing aspects of this collaboration — recorded live at the Big Apple’s Jazz Standard last September — is the seamless way in which Rudd and Shepp move between the orbits of furious abandon (“Acute Motelitis”) and engagingly mellow pieces (“Steam,” “Déjà Vu”). The Paris–based saxophonist’s deft and delicate piano playing and crooning is a major highlight of this disc. Shepp shines on saxophone too, with his trademark vibrato and lyrically sculpured phrasing.
The influence of Herbie Nichols and Elmo Hope overwhelms but never threatens to suffocate the proceedings. Tunes like “Acute Motelitis,” “Ujamma” and “Hope No. 2” bear out this tendency. Located somewhere between the stylings of Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, these numbers bristle with their own unique harmonic sense.
Reggie Workman has been such a ubiquitous presence in Jazz circles for nearly fifty years that one could say he “hides in plain sight.” From straight-ahead blues to avant-garde situations, this creative bassist anchors this particular live session with great flair. Ditto Andrew Cyrille who has been grossly overlooked in terms of his contribution to the percussive lexicon. His sheer prowess in punctuating and parsing the pulse of each of the compositions on Live in New York is breathtaking. For the more discerning Jazz aficionado, this new Rudd / Shepp collaboration will not disappoint.
Contact:Verna Gillis / Soundscape. Phone 845–626–4038; fax 845–626–4641; e–mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Track Listing: Keep Your Heart Right; Acute Motelitis; Steam; Pazuzu; We Are the Blues; Ujamma; Bamako; Slide by Slide; D
Personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone, vocals, piano; Roswell Rudd, trombone; Grachan Moncur III, trombone; Reggie Workman, bass; Andrew Cyrille, drums; Amiri Baraka, poetry.
Record Label: Universal Music Group
Style: Modern Jazz