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On Fire in New York

The evening started with an Archie Shepp composition that he wrote for his oldest daughter. After his daughter changed her name, he changed the name of the song. Beautiful and enthralling, the melody set the atmosphere and Shepp’s solo took the Iridium audience on a musical journey up toward the heavens. While the other musicians took solos, Shepp added texture and inspiration on the piano. This exchange reached its peak during Andrew Cyrille’s amazing drum solo. Shepp interspersed funky statements on the piano throughout Cyrille’s rhythmic mural.

The most enjoyable number of the evening was a selection by Roswell Rudd entitled Slide by Slide. The song appears on the Shepp/Rudd recording Live in New York. With an almost New Orleans funk feel, this one had everyone in the room smiling. It began with a bass introduction by the great Reggie Workman, followed by wonderfully creative expressions from the trombone of Roswell Rudd. Archie Shepp took this selection to another level. He came in very subtly, quietly spiraling around the notes emanating from Rudd’s trombone. He then went into full solo mode, his immense musical talent shining bright. This fun-loving composition showed another side to Shepp’s saxophone playing. Reggie Workman’s exceptional bass playing on this number should be noted as well.

Playwright, poet, novelist and essayist Amiri Baraka also displayed his overflowing talent, reading a number of his poems with accompaniment from the quartet. Containing social and political commentary, Baraka’s poems added another dimension to the evenings’ performance. His delivery and sensitive interaction with the other musicians illustrated his unique artistry.

The quartet closed the evening with a number penned by Herbie Nichols.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Archie Shepp
  • Concert Date: 7/22/2004
  • Subtitle: Shepp / Rudd
  • Venue: Iridium
  • City State Country: New York
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