Album Review

Shepp, Archie – “Poem For Malcom ” – [Get Back]

Thurston Hunger   4/6/2006   12-inch, Jazz

Time to get righteously Shepp-faced again.
Face A : A for Apoplectic Anguish. “Malcom is Dead”
bellowed out of burning lungs, Silva’s bass is almost a
Gnawa salute. It all starts off modestly enough, a slide of
slipperstrings and celebratory bells…but quickly Shepp’s
power poetry arrives, delivered in great hypertheatrics
through a mic that is as saturated as an overblown tenor.
Philly Joe Jones in on tympani!! It’s that sort of emotion
pouring out, Claude Delcloo’s extinguishing drums try to
keep the flames at bay. A snaky soprano interlude rises to
the top…wailing jagged scales. Respite and then more
fire thoughts, when I die, I want one person to feel at
least 1/100th the passionate loss Shepp is grappling with
here. Spiritual Father, Physical Mother, Redeeming Grief!
Face B : Solo pre-echo?’ Shepp’s tenor exploring alone,
cavernous, a great space for notes and runs to linger. A
distant drum rumble approaches it eventually demands a more
freefest, including Grachan Moncur III’s trombone tearing
into the melody and melee. Shepp slides in a few sonic
quotes, Philly Joe remarkable. Coronary on a kit, gigantic
drum rolls. Hank Mobley takes a turn at the wheel and deal
on tenor as Archie moves to piano. The wind up swinging
sweet as Oleo for a couple bars. Genius. -Thurston Hunger

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