All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Archie Shepp/Siegfried Kessler: First Take


Sign in to view read count
Paired with German pianist Siegfried Kessler, Archie Shepp finds himself in an evocative mood on First Take. Recorded live in France, they perform an intimate and at times haunting set of six tunes. The disc begins with the 22-minute sojourn of "Les Matin de Noirs" ("The Morning of the Blacks"). A surprisingly smooth ride, considering its length, the opening number goes a long way to ease and convince the listener of the album's gentle vibe. Shepp never pushes and Kessler never insists, resulting in an intricate, musical dance of subtleties and niceties.

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.

Title: First Take | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Archie Ball Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Cherry ‎– Sakura" CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "66 67" CD/LP/Track Review 66 67
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Instinct" CD/LP/Track Review Instinct
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "I Try To Remember Where I Come From" CD/LP/Track Review I Try To Remember Where I Come From
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Return of Robert Dickson" CD/LP/Track Review Return of Robert Dickson
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 30, 2017