Source: The New York Review of Books.
My father, the saxophonist Archie Shepp, has recorded more than 110 albums since 1962, performed all over the world, and received numerous honors, including the 2016 Jazz Master’s Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. In the 1960s, he helped define “free jazz,” a new idiom in which the details of melody, harmony, and rhythm are all improvised to create a grand conversation: voices rise and fall, sometimes echoing one another, sometimes dissonant and discordant. In the 1970s and 1980s he wove the blues into his music, extending our understanding of this tradition. His cultural influence reaches far beyond the realm of jazz, touching artists as diverse as Ntozake Shange and Chuck D.