All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Archie Shepp: I Hear A Sound

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Attica Blues"

Lest we forget. And certainly, how could we forget the struggles of the late-sixties and early- 1970s against racism, oppression, the Vietnam War? With the assassinations of JFK, MLK, Malcolm X, and Bobby Kennedy and the counter-culture movement scrambling the American identity, some believed the country was ripe for its own revolution.

Music was (and I cannot now honestly say 'is') on the front lines of the rebellion. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's reaction to Kent State, "Ohio," was recorded less than 3 weeks after the National Guard killed 4 civilians. Charles Mingus' "Fables of Faubus" criticized the Arkansas governor over his denial of integration of the Little Rock schools. Likewise drummer Max Roach wrote his "Freedom Now Suite" and Joe McPhee's 1970 release Nation Time (Atavistic, 2000).

Besides John Coltrane's "Alabama," maybe the most powerful protest song, was Archie Shepp's "Attica Blues," recorded in response to the 1971 riot at Attica Prison in New York, in which 33 died. Shepp released an album of the same title in 1972. It would be seventeen years before an analogous release, "Fight The Power" by Public Enemy was heard.

In 2013, more that forty years after its release Shepp and his Attica Blues Orchestra revisits the song from a live date in France, a country that is seemingly re-enacting America's racial conflicts with its immigrant Muslim population. I Hear A Sound opens with this hard-hitting blues. Reggie Washington's thumping bass incites the hand-clapping pulse before the full force tsunami of funky horns, guitar and vocals hits. The 75-year old saxophonist retains his dusky voice, both on tenor saxophone and vocals. His distinctive yowl is preserved here, and it is as brawny and formidable as ever. Where other avant jazzmen might eschew the blues and funk, Shepp embraces an accessible sound in service of his message. The layers of horns, strings, and backing vocals creates a maelstrom as powerful as the message behind the music. Chapeau!

Track Listing: Attica Blues

Personnel: Personnel: Archie Shepp: tenor and soprano saxophones, voice; Amina Claudine Myers: piano, voice; Tom McClung: piano; Famoudou Don Moye: drums, congas; Reggie Washington: bass; Pierre Durand: guitar; Stéphane Belmondo: trumpet; Izidor Leitinger: trumpet; Christophe Leloil: trumpet; Olivier Miconi: trumpet; Sébastien Llado: trombone; Simon Sieger: trombone; Romain Morello: trombone; Michaël Ballue: trombone; Raphaël Imbert: alto saxophone; Olivier Chaussade: alto saxophone; François Théberge: tenor saxophone; Virgile Lefebvre: tenor saxophone; Jean-Philippe Scali: baritone saxophone; Manon Tenoudji: violin; Steve Duong: violin; Antoine Carlier: viola; Louise Rosbach: cello; Marion Rampal: voice; Cécile McLorin Salvant: voice.

Title: I Hear A Sound | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Archie Ball Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
I Hear A Sound

I Hear A Sound

Archie Ball Records

I Hear the Sound

I Hear the Sound

Archie Ball Records

I Hear the Sound

I Hear the Sound

Archie Ball Records


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 "Unloved" CD/LP/Track Review Unloved
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Tangents" CD/LP/Track Review Tangents
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Sonic Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Sonic Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "From Outer Space" CD/LP/Track Review From Outer Space
by Thad Aerts
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Asteroidea" CD/LP/Track Review Asteroidea
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 5, 2017