Monday, August 21, 2006
I Am the Ron Weasley of the Funky Funky 7
Though I'm not sure that makes sense - but I aspire to be / teh Hermione.

So, it ain't about rap (Houston or otherwise) it ain't about indie and it ain't a mashup.

What is it? It's Archie motherfuckin' Shepp, bitches! Recognize!

So, who is he? Well, he's the missing link between John Coltrane and Joe Henderson. He's one of the unheralded greats of the tenor sax. He's the man who brought some of the rawest politics to jazz in the 60's but didn't forget how to swing, bop, or rock the gutbucket blues. In short, he might be the man for me this side of Coleman Hawkins, and those who know me know that's sayin' a lot.

I really know next to nothing about jazz, but I listen to a lot of it and I love a wide range of it, so, though I might not be able to articulate in a Down Beat type-o-way, I can at least say this much: what made Shepp so great is that same indefinable combination of progressive blowing with pure swing that informed his predecessors - from Ben Webster, to Hawkins, to 'Trane (well, up until his space cadet days), who was his immediate mentor. Better yet, Shepp had a real lust for and understanding of R&B and blues that many of his fellow hard-blowing tenors lacked - so when Albert Ayler made a record like New Grass, it (undeservedly) brought the heavy hand of critics down upon it, but Shepp's own Attica Blues was heralded almost immediately as a classic, despite its deviation from the reedy freneticism of his earlier Impulse sides.

So, from his 1968 mini-classic The Way Ahead, we've got the monster (hehe) "Frankenstein," swingin' like Hawkins after too much Bourbon & Coke (not a-Cola), beltin' like Bing Crosby after coming home to the wife and blowin' like that shit did in the wind.

And from the mega-classic Attica Blues, may I present - "Blues for Brother George Jackson," and the funky funky "Attica Blues." Yes, I may.

I'll also add these two tracks culled from the excellent recent Impulse! round-up Archie Shepp on Impulse!: "Mama Too Tight," showing the man in souljazz mode and the spoken-word heroin-stoked "Scag."


Posted by Mallory on Monday, August 21, 2006 at 10:13 AM |

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The FunkyFunky 7 Are:
A group of kids with WAY too much time on their hands.