Reviews that mention Jimmy Garrison

March 17, 2016

Archie Shepp

Live at the Donaueschingen Music Festival
MPS EAN/UPC 4250644878640

While it may hardly sound credible in 2016, about 40 years ago it appeared as if Archie Shepp was going to enter the history books as the most accomplished tenor saxophonist following John Coltrane. In hindsight it’s became apparent that the aleatoric advances from Europeans like Evan Parker plus more direct Energy Music extenders like Charles Gayle or protean thinkers such as Roscoe Mitchell soon eclipsed Shepp. When he turned so-called traditional, even neo-mainstreamers like Joe Henderson’s playing revealed Shepp’s tonal inadequacies. Like an angry radical glorying in his establishment confrontations during the 1960s, Shepp has become a New Thing parody. Croaking the blues, recycling Swing ballads, struggling with intonation and raging vocally more than playing, the Shepp of four decades ago would have characterized today’s flashily dressed Shepp as one of those bourgeoisie entertainers he was struggling against. MORE

January 26, 2016

John Coltrane

A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters
Impulse B0023727-02

Arguably the best-known session in modern Jazz with the possible exception of trumpeter Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue five years earlier, A Love Supreme has since 1965 been universally acknowledged as the paramount achievement of saxophonist John Coltrane and his classic quartet. But like variants of familiar fairy tales which are subject to neoteric interpretations following the unearthing of ancillary information or up-to-date translations, A Love Supreme music involves more than the four tracks that made up the original LP with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones. Packaged with a 30-page book of analysis, musical notation and photographers plus 2½ additional CDs of music, this set could be regarded the same way as a Mishna, Catenist or Cursus commentary on the bible. While preserving the original text or LP, the additions deepen and amplify the experience. MORE

June 30, 2003


Attica Blues
Impulse! AS-9222 024 654 414-2

Music Is The Healing Force of the Universe
Impulse! AS-9191 440 065 383-2

What you’re hearing on these two LP-length CD reissues, recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is the metaphoric death throes of the New Thing as a popular music.

But wait, you say, didn’t the angry unmelodic, experimental New Thing itself murder jazz’s popularity when it hijacked the music and drove large audiences away? Not really. Like other pieces of revisionist history perpetuated by the neo-cons this tale has been blown out of proportion to make more miraculous the trad revival of the 1990s. MORE

December 10, 2001


Freedom & Unity
Atavistic Unheard Music UMS/ALP 225 CD

One of the standard bearers of the Black Nationalist branch of the New Thing, trumpeter/valve trombonist Clifford Thornton’s musical profile nearly vanished in the years before he died in Switzerland in the mid-1980s.

Perhaps it was caused by his late 1960s detour into academe at Wesleyan University, plus his stint in the 1970s as an educational counselor at the African American Institute. Maybe it was because Thornton, who was once barred from entering France as a suspected Black Panther, and who plays a composition entitled “Free Huey” on this CD, found this his commitments were out of fashion in the conservative jazz world. Certainly he and other radicals like trumpeter Cal Massey were usually shoved into the background by the pronouncements of his more articulate and news-generating associate, Archie Shepp. MORE