151

Archie Shepp: The New York Contemporary Five

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Archie Shepp: The New York Contemporary Five In 1963, cornetist Don Cherry , tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp , drummer J.C. Moses, alto saxophonist John Tchicai and bassist Don Moore performed at the Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen . At the time, Cherry was just coming off from playing with Ornette Coleman, while Shepp was transitioning from Bill Dixon. Tchicai had met Cherry and Shepp in New York and become part of the collective.

Cherry was the most assured of the five, having developed and honed his skills—not only with Coleman, but through his interests in music from other genres. Perhaps it is the very raw and uncertain makeup of this talent that makes The New York Contemporary Five an historic document.

Cherry exhibits a raft of well-conceived ideas on his own "Cisum," finding his comfort zone as he casts the mold of composition aside and sets up sharp linearity, before acknowledging the catchy melody. Shepp and Tchicai go out in search of the lost chord before finding their common nesting ground and firing a salvo of phrases in conjunction. That sets the body in motion, and the in tandem brass interjections turn on a welcome heat. The way in which the front men revisit and dissect the melody with a greater sense of assurance makes the whole more satisfying than its parts.

Shepp gives "When Will the Blues Leave" a happy cast before Cherry takes it into blues terrain and swing. Moses and Moore are in their element, crisping the rhythm. Shepp shows a modulation of swing and honks, but does not always come up on top. Tchicai is a cascade of ideas that on occasion slip, but his character as an inventor comes to the fore soon enough to correct the imbalance and give the music definition.

Cherry injects poignancy into "The Funeral" but his opening statement is marred by a slight hesitancy as he formulates ideas. Once he settles into the grain, he lets the melody ooze in, before Shepp experiments with form and structure. It's a liquid manifestation that is never shallow.

Given that the players went on to marked careers in the fiefdom of free jazz, this is certainly an historic document that stands as a take-off point.


Track Listing: Cisum; Crepescule With Nellie; O.C.; When Will the Blues Leave; The Funeral; Mik.

Personnel: Don Cherry: cornet; Archie Shepp: alto sax; John Tchicai: tenor sax; Don Moore: bass; J.C. Moses: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Out 'N' In" CD/LP/Track Review Out 'N' In
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Spring Feelings" CD/LP/Track Review Spring Feelings
by Andrew Luhn
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Shovel Down" CD/LP/Track Review Shovel Down
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Live At Zaal 100" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Zaal 100
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!