24 May 1937, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Shepp was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While studying dramatic literature at college he began playing on various instruments including the alto saxophone. His first professional engagement was on clarinet and he later played tenor saxophone with R&B bands. Settling in New York he tried to find work as an actor but was obliged to make a living in music, playing in Latin bands. He also played jazz with Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Don Cherry, John Tchicai and others during the early 60s. With Cherry and Tchicai he was co-leader of the New York Contemporary Five. Shepps musically questing nature drew him into the orbit of John Coltrane, with whom he established a fruitful musical relationship. Through Coltrane, Shepp was introduced to Bob Thiele of Impulse! Records and began recording under his own name for the label.
Shepps collaborations with Coltrane included an appearance at...
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