A Guide to the Music of Archie Shepp

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Nowadays, it’s easy to call Archie Shepp a legend. But back in the late 1950’s, as an upstart saxophonist trying to make his way in New York City, he just wanted to soak up all the brilliance he could. “That’s why I came to New York,” says Shepp, a Philadelphia native. “I wanted to meet all the great players.”

He couldn’t even fathom actually working with John Coltrane, the groundbreaking saxophonist credited with bringing free jazz to the mainstream. Shepp met Coltrane at the landmark Five Spot Cafe, which was just around the corner from his home along East 6th Street. He used to visit the legendary club to hear titans like Thelonious Monk and Johnny Griffin.

Shepp met Coltrane at a transitional moment in his career; he’d just left Miles Davis’s quintet in order to form his own group. In the near future, Coltrane would go on to release Giant Steps, the first of several classic albums for the noted bandleader.