Label: SteepleChase – SCC 6013
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Denmark / Released: 1980
Style: Free Jazz, Improvisation
Recorded live at Jazz Club Montmartre, Copenhagen, November 21, 1963.
Previously unissued recordings by the Danish radio
Artwork – Per Grunnet
Photography By – Jan Persson
Producer, Mixed By – Nils Wither
A1 - You Stepped Out Of A Dream ............... 19:40
A2 - I Should Care ........................................... 9:00
B1 - The House I Live In .................................. 9:35
B2 - Sweet Georgia Brown ............................ 11:25
Archie Shepp – tenor saxophone
Lars Gullin – baritone saxophone
Tete Montoliu – piano
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen – bass
Alex Riel – drums, percussion
This is a fascinating release. Tenor-saxophonist Archie Shepp would not burst upon the U.S. avant-garde scene until 1964-65 but here he is featured at a Danish concert with the great coolbop baritonist Lars Gullin and a top-notch straightahead rhythm section (pianist Tete Montoliu, bassist Niels Pedersen and drummer Alex Riel). The quintet stretches out on four lengthy standards (including "Sweet Georgia Brown" and a 19-minute rendition of "You Stepped out of a Dream") and it is particularly interesting to hear the reactions of the other musicians to Shepp's rather free flights; at a couple of points Gullin tries to copy him. An important historical release.
Europe has always been fertile ground for Shepp. As he has said himself, the greater intellectualism of European audiences made it much easier for his complex music to find receptive ears. As a result several periods of his career have been spent in Europe and a great many recordings have become available. One of the earliest is this 1963 Danish concert featuring bop baritonist Lars Gullin and bass stalwart Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen.
Saxophonist and playwright Archie Shepp (b. May 24, 1937 in Fort Lauderdale. FL) then 26 years old visited Copenhagen in the fall of 1963 as a member of the famed New York Contemporary Five.
The quintet work through four standards, the opener 'You Stepped Out Of A Dream' being the high point. It's a long piece at nineteen minutes, giving Shepp ample time to improvise in his usual manner. The contrast with the straight-ahead rhythm section is marked, being all the more obvious at those times when Gullin tries (not always successfully) to follow Shepp in his flights.
Though Shepp at that time was the passionate practitioner of Free jazz, this recording in which he shared the bandstand with Sweden’s legendary baritone sax Gullin is something quite different from what one normally expects from Shepp in the 60s. It is Shepp playing straight jazz with audible enjoyment showing off his broad range of expression.
If you find it, buy this album!