Monday, June 21, 2010

The Way Ahead

Okay, there it was.  Sitting in the top left hand corner of my blessed Penguin Guide.  Page one thousand, one hundred, and something.  Archie Shepp's The Way Ahead.  I can't say why I ignored it until now.  I have Shepp's famous 1964 recordings: Four for Trane, The New York Contemporary Five, and some others.  This one from 1968 is close to ground zero.  

Well, I have it now.  It is vintage Shepp, raw, wild, and uncompromising, like someone trying to punch his way out of jail cell.  If you the 64 recordings and would fight to give them up, you'll want this one too.  If you think that Shepp is all about noise, you will still want to hear the opening number.  It is so spectacularly good that this one number would suffice to demonstrate Shepp's genius.  Here it is:
Archie Shepp/Damn if I Know/The Way Ahead
And here is the lineup, courtesy of the Jazz Discography:
Jimmy Owens (tp) Grachan Moncur III (tb) Archie Shepp (ts) Walter Davis Jr. (p) Ron Carter (b) Roy Haynes (d -1,4) Beaver Harris (d -2,4)
Now I admit that one think that caught my eye was the presence of Grachan Moncur III.  I have been paying a lot of attention to this trombone wizard lately.  Well, it is Father's Day, and I had a few bucks to spend.  So I spent them on Shepp's album and on Moncur's Exploration.  

At least two numbers on the latter were worth whatever you have to pay.  'Love and Hate' is one of the pieces that stops you in your tracks.  What am I listening to?  How can I possibly get more of it?  If you want to hear it, sorry.  You'll have to pony up for the recording.  It's on eMusic, and you can get it from Amazon.  

But here is a piece from the album, a composition that also appears on the Shepp album.  It will give you some idea what this is worth.  
Grachan Moncur III Octet/Frankenstein/Exploration
 Go for it. 

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