Mojo (Publisher) - 2/04, p.1094 stars out of 5
- "Shepp's tenor sax-playing is exceptional throughout..."
Personnel includes: Archie Shepp (soprano & tenor saxophones); Marion Brown (alto saxophone, flute, bamboo flute, percussion); Walter Davis Jr. (piano, electric piano); Joe Lee Wilson (vocals), William Kunstler (spoken vocals); John Blake, Leroy Jenkins (violin); Cal Massey (flugelhorn); Charles Greene (trombone); Cornell Dupree (guitar); Jimmy Garrison (bass); Beaver Harris, Billy Higgins (drums); Juma Sultan (percussion).
Recorded at A&R Recording, New York, New York on January 24-26, 1972. Originally released on Impulse (9222).
Personnel: Archie Shepp (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Albertine Robinson, Joshie Armstead (vocals, background vocals); Henry Hull, Romulus Franceschini, Waheeda Massey, Joe Lee Wilson (vocals); Cornell Dupree (guitar); Lakshminarayana Shankar, John Blake, Leroy Jenkins (violin); Ronald Lipscomb, Calo Scott (viola, cello); Marion Brown (flute, bamboo flute, alto saxophone, percussion); Clarence White (alto saxophone); Billy Robinson , Roland Alexander, Bill Robinson (tenor saxophone); James Ware (baritone saxophone); Michael Ridley, Charles McGhee, Roy Burrowes (trumpet); Clifford Thornton (cornet); Cal Massey (flugelhorn); Kiane Zawadi, Charles Stephens, Charles "Majeed" Greenlee (trombone); Hakim Jami (euphonium); Walter Davis (piano, electric piano); Dave Burrell, Walter Davis, Jr. (electric piano); Roland Wilson (electric bass, bass guitar); Beaver Harris, Billy Higgins (drums); Nene DeFense, Juma Sultan, Ollie Anderson (percussion).
Recording information: A&R Studios, New York, NY (01/24/1972-01/26/1972).
Photographer: Charles Stewart .
By the early 1970s Archie Shepp was moving away from his no-holds-barred free-jazz assault and into experiments with swing, R&B, and funk. Such is the case with 1974's ATTICA BLUES, an expansive, freewheeling album that finds the saxophonist at the height of his style-blending fearlessness. This is not to say the album isn't avant garde: quite the contrary. Shepp's solos are fleet, acrobatic, and searingly intense.
Shepp's appropriation of R&B and funk can be heard throughout, especially on album standouts, "Blues for Brother George Jackson" and the title track, which rides a hard funk groove. Interestingly, the album also has its share of vocal-led tracks, including the ballad "Steam" sung by Joe Lee Wilson. The "recitation" songs serve to date the album a bit, but overall ATTICA BLUES stands as one of the best recordings in Shepp's fine discography.