John Coltrane & Archie Shepp - New Thing At Newport (Music CD)
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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).
2. Spoekn Introduction
3. One Down One Up
4. Rufus (Swung His Face At Last To The Wind Then His Neck Snap
5. Le Matin Des Noire
7. Call Me By My Rightful Name