Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

151

Archie Shepp: The New York Contemporary Five

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
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; Crepuscule With Nellie; O.C.; When Will the Blues Leave; The Funeral; Mik.

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

Title: The New York Contemporary Five | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Delmark Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019
Read Music! Music! Music! Album Reviews
Music! Music! Music!
By Doug Collette
May 20, 2019
Read Sheer Reckless Abandon Album Reviews
Sheer Reckless Abandon
By John Kelman
May 19, 2019
Read Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z Album Reviews
Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z
By Jack Bowers
May 19, 2019
Read To My Brothers Album Reviews
To My Brothers
By Victor L. Schermer
May 19, 2019