John Coltrane Archie Shepp – New Thing at Newport

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In 1965, a breakthrough year for John Coltrane, the great saxophonist began a fervent period of exploration–acting not only as a lightning rod for the emerging free jazz movement, but becoming something of a free jazz patron. Much as he championed the music of Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy, Coltrane now used his enormous popularity to midwife the work of firebrands such as Albert Ayler and young horn players featured on Ascension.

Few players benefitted from Coltrane’s patronage as much as Florida native Archie Shepp. Coming of age in Philadelphia, Shepp was a veteran of numerous blues and R&B bands when he first came to prominence with Cecil Taylor. Coltrane got him his first contract with Impulse!, leading to Shepp’s debut as a leader, Four For Trane. A New Thing At Newport documents the original Coltrane Quartet, a few months before its dissolution, and a fine edition of the Shepp Quartet.

Coltrane’s set straddles stylistic periods, and the aesthetic tension is plain to hear. When Coltrane solos on the elliptical theme to “One Down One Up” and the lyrical incantations of “My Favorite Things,” the band takes on a fierce, freewheeling demeanor. The saxophonist stretches his melodic lines to the breaking point, reaching out for the intuitive brand of freedom his younger acolytes were then pursuing. But when Tyner solos, you can hear Garrison and Jones coalesce into the kind of rhythmic juggernaut that initially established the quartet’s reputation.

As for Shepp’s set, despite the loose ensemble trappings, the saxophonist comes across as a provocative composer with a dark romantic conception–equal parts free jazz, blues and modern theater (check out his recitation on “Skag,” the brooding lyricism of “Le Matin Des Noire,” the contrasting delicacy and bite of “Call Me By My Rightful”). As the jagged stops and starts of his opener “Rufus” demonstrate, his amorphous melodic conception is firmly rooted in the blues, and his subtle manipulations of embouchure, inflection and pitch paved the for David Murray (and inevitably drew comparisons to Ben Webster).

JOHN COLTRANE:
Personnel: John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophones); Father Norman O’Connor (spoken vocals); McCoy Tyner (piano); Jimmy Garrison (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).

ARCHIE SHEPP:
Personnel: Archie Shepp (spoken vocals, tenor saxophone); Billy Taylor (spoken vocals); Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone); Barre Phillips (bass); Joe Chambers (drums).

Tracklist

01. Spoken Introduction To John Coltrane’s Set By Father Norman O’Connor
02. One Down, One Up
03. My Favorite Things
04. Spoken Introduction To Archie Shepp’s Set By Billy Taylor
05. Gingerbread, Gingerbread Boy
06. Call Me By My Rightful Name
07. Scag
08. Rufus (Swung His Face At Last To The Wind, Then His Neck Snapped)
09. Le Matin Des Noire

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3 Responses to “John Coltrane Archie Shepp – New Thing at Newport”

  1. Nimbus says:

    I honestly can’t thank you enough for this.

  2. Michele says:

    Oh my… thanxalot!!!

  3. rashid212 says:

    Call Me By My Rightful Name, I love this cut I listen to every morning, it gets me started

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