Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ARCHIE SHEPP – Three For A Quarter One For A Dime (LP-1969)

Label: Impulse! – AS-9162
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo / Country: US / Released: 1969
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at the Both/And Club in San Francisco on February 19th, 1966.
Issued in a gatefold sleeve
Design [Cover] – Byron Goto, Henry Epstein
Engineer – Wally Heider
Liner Notes – Nat Hentoff
Producer – Bob Thiele

A - Three For A Quarter ....................................................... 17:27
B - One For A Dime ............................................................. 15:26

ARCHIE SHEPP – tenor sax and piano
ROSWELL RUDD – trombone
BEAVER HARRIS – drums, percussion

Shepp and his regular quintet of 1966, which also includes trombonist Roswell Rudd, drummer Beaver Harris, and bassists Donald Garrett and Lewis Worrell, really stretch out on this live blowout, there is some solo space for his sidemen, but Shepp dominates the performance, and his emotional style and endurance are in peak form. Intense and rewarding music.

Although “Three for a Quarter One for a Dime” was not released until 1969, it was actually recorded in 1966 at the same show that made up the album “Live in San Francisco”.  Only available in the original vinyl format, the 33 minute piece is divided into 17 ½ minutes on side one, and 15 ½ on side two. “This LP is in  the massive gatefold packaging generously supplied by the Impulse! label is a work of art in itself.

Almost any musical genre seems to enjoy its best years when that style is being invented. The excitement of discovery seems to push a musician’s physical limits beyond their usual capabilities. You can hear this in late 20s jazz and early 40s be-bop, and you can also hear it in the ‘free jazz’ of the 60s. Despite all the attention given to Coltrane and Ornette during this freedom era, quite possibly Archie Shepp, along with Albert Alyer and John Gilmore, were the ones who took the emotional frenzy of this music to its highest level, and “Three for a Quarter” provides an excellent example of Shepp doing just that.

This album opens with Shepp and tromobonist Roswell Rudd leap-frogging an odd melody that’s part bop, part circus music and completely ‘out to lunch’, there is no doubt that we are in for a wild ride. As the band digs in, Rudd and Shepp do some quick exchanges before Rudd backs off and gives Shepp the floor. Archie responds with one of the most intense sax solos you will ever hear anywhere, no shrieks or screams, just an endless assault of notes played with a very gnarly expressive guttural sound. Towards the end of side one, Rudd re-enters and the two soloists raise a wonderful chaos that sounds much bigger than just two. On side two, Rudd takes a solo ride while Shepp backs him on the piano before picking up his horn for one more double solo to close things out. Throughout the precedings, Beaver Harris keeps up a steady roar on the trap set while the two bassists rumble around in the background, although not always particularly distinctively.

Archie Shepp is a restless spirit who has played many styles of music in his career, “Three for a Quarter One for a Dime” is an excellent example of how much furious energy he brought to the ‘new thing’ of the sixties before he moved on to other things.

If you find it, buy this album!


  1. ARCHIE SHEPP – Three For A Quarter One For A Dime (LP-1969)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC+Cover


  2. Thanks Vitko this LP is one from his best years.

  3. This one definitely takes me back -- this one, The Magic of Ju Ju, and The Way Ahead. Those Impulse! recordings were great. Thanks Vitko.

  4. Thanks, Vitko! Very nice vinyl rip.

    I believe the image "08 photo5.jpg" was taken at the Donaueschingen event that gave us Shepp's exceptional MPS LP with the live performance of "One For The Trane" spanning both sides of the record.

    For those interested in ALL of the recorded performances of Shepp in San Francisco's Both/And Club, check out the "Live in San Francisco" CD reissue because it combines the original LP with that title PLUS this one (3 for 25¢, 1 for 10¢) on one CD.

    1. My dear -Otto-, I'm so glad to you're back here. This means that it is now all right, is it? Write me a little more detail (on my e-mail).
      Cheers. V

    2. PS: Yes, for "08 photo 5" you're right.

    3. Oh, Vitko, I've been lurking here for a while, but I just didn't have the energy to do much else. Thanks for all the goodies you've been offering during the past year or so. I'll slowly catch up on all of them. Thanks once again for the fabulous selection of rarities!