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Archie Shepp: The Magic of Ju-Ju

Album Notes

On this 1967 Impulse release, tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp unleashed his 18-minute tour de force "The Magic of Ju-Ju," combining free jazz tenor with steady frenetic African drumming. Shepp's emotional and fiery tenor takes off immediately, gradually morphing with the five percussionists -- Beaver Harris, Norman Connor, Ed Blackwell, Frank Charles, and Dennis Charles -- who perform on instruments including rhythm logs and talking drums. Shepp never loses the initial energy, moving forward like a man possessed as the drumming simultaneously builds into a fury. Upon the final three minutes, the trumpets of Martin Banks and Michael Zwerin make an abrupt brief appearance, apparently to ground the piece to a halt. This is one of Shepp's most chaotic yet rhythmically hypnotic pieces. The three remaining tracks, somewhat overshadowed by the title piece, are quick flourishes of free bop on "Shazam," "Sorry Bout That," and the slower, waltz-paced "You're What This Day Is All About." ~ Al Campbell



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