Personnel: Archie Shepp (spoken vocals, tenor saxophone); Lakshminarayana Shankar (violin); Ted Curson (trumpet); Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone); Reggie Workman, Barre Phillips (upright bass); Joe Chambers, Roy Haynes, Charles Moffett (drums).
Between 1964 and 1968 Archie Shepp released a string of albums on Impulse that helped define the free-jazz movement and push its musical and emotional boundaries. Staunchly political and dedicated to the principle of passionate expression, Shepp had a bold approach and a sometimes fierce, sometimes lyrical tenor attack that made his Impulse albums some of the most exciting of the era.
This nine-track compilation offers a superb overview of Shepp's output on the label. Kicking off with the artist's interpretation of John Coltrane's "Naima" (from 1964's FOUR FOR TRANE, an album that still stands as one of Shepp's finest), the set represents Shepp's political work ("Attica Blues"), love for tradition (his take on Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady"), and his own exhilarating originals ("Los Olvidados"). The appearance of some of the finest players of the period, including vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Charles Moffet, only heightens the pleasure of this excellent collection.