Sunday, November 8, 2009

Archie Shepp and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen

I have a fondness for Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen that goes back three decades.  In my early years as a jazz fan I collected Oscar Peterson records.  Peterson and Pedersen were inseparable for a while.  I have a fondness for Archie Shepp that goes back, well, at least a couple of years.

Shepp has the status of a great innovator, and he deserves it.  He also works the saxophone like a dowager, always finding God's own water under any sandy surface.  His New York Contemporary Five and Four For Trane recordings, in that order, are essential pieces in any collection.  I haven't followed Pedersen well enough to say anything useful about him.  But he is clearly a master.

I recently acquired a duet album recorded by Shepp and Pedersen, Looking at Bird.  Even with a piano, jazz duets tend to be a bit dry.  They are works of love for lovers.  With a horn and bass, the music approaches a dry martini joke.  But this recording of Charlie Parker compositions is wonderful.  You can't do better if you want to taste the alchemy of a consummate jazz conversation.  The two play as if they were doing a Vulcan mind meld sort of thing.  And the texture of both instruments is recorded remarkably well.  This is the true water.  Here is a sample:
Archie Shepp & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen/Billie's Bounce/Looking at Bird
 I have been getting a lot of traffic lately, but few comments.  Comment. 


  1. I appreciate your choices and comments very much, and follow them closely. I dig your approach - versatile and fully clarified. Your post on Kuhn's Coltrane helped me decide to download the record. Check out an interview with Steve on Jazz Session featured by All About Jazz. It's a very resourceful conversation.
    Keep on trucking!
    Your fan from Warsaw,

  2. Sorry Ken,
    I mixed the blogs. The lead on Kuhn I've taken form Straight No Chaser blog. I meant your post on Dave Holland's Point of View. This os brilliant, breathtaking musical tour de force. Thank's once more.

  3. You're welcome, Bartek. That Dave Holland album is priceless.

  4. One more thing, Bartek. Your words "I dig your approach - versatile and fully clarified" were very gratifying. That is what I am trying to do on this blog. I can't get enough friends in Warsaw.

  5. Hi Kent,I have just discovered your blogspot, i was looking for an album from Niels Henning,Orsted Pedersen, Sonny Rollins and Kenny Drew Four and found this sample on your blog, great symbiosis from this two guys.
    Im starting to listening to jazz music, brings great pleasure for my ears :)
    I will dig deeper into your blog this days.
    Sending this link of the quartet that i have told you
    Hope you like it
    Thanks for sharing mate.
    Greetings from Bolivia

  6. Thanks, Francisco. Your comment is the coin I get paid.

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