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Archie Shepp: Attica Blues

Album Reviews:

Mojo (Publisher) (2/04, p.109) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Shepp's tenor sax-playing is exceptional throughout..."

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Archie Shepp (soprano & tenor saxophones); Marion Brown (alto saxophone, flute, bamboo flute, percussion); Walter Davis Jr. (piano, electric piano); Joe Lee Wilson (vocals), William Kunstler (spoken vocals); John Blake, Leroy Jenkins (violin); Cal Massey (flugelhorn); Charles Greene (trombone); Cornell Dupree (guitar); Jimmy Garrison (bass); Beaver Harris, Billy Higgins (drums); Juma Sultan (percussion).

Recorded at A&R Recording, New York, New York on January 24-26, 1972. Originally released on Impulse (9222).

By the early 1970s Archie Shepp was moving away from his no-holds-barred free-jazz assault and into experiments with swing, R&B, and funk. Such is the case with 1974's ATTICA BLUES, an expansive, freewheeling album that finds the saxophonist at the height of his style-blending fearlessness. This is not to say the album isn't avant garde: quite the contrary. Shepp's solos are fleet, acrobatic, and searingly intense.

Shepp's appropriation of R&B and funk can be heard throughout, especially on album standouts, "Blues for Brother George Jackson" and the title track, which rides a hard funk groove. Interestingly, the album also has its share of vocal-led tracks, including the ballad "Steam" sung by Joe Lee Wilson. The "recitation" songs serve to date the album a bit, but overall ATTICA BLUES stands as one of the best recordings in Shepp's fine discography.


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