Sunday, December 11, 2011

Archie Shepp & Richard Davis - Body and Soul

This duet date from 1989 demonstrates the deep blues feeling and technical mastery Archie Shepp has on the tenor saxophone. Comprised of four standards -- "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," "Body and Soul," "Pannonica," and "'Round Midnight" -- this set is one of Shepp's most enjoyable ever. The reasons are myriad, but it is in large part due to the fluid, loping bass of Richard Davis. Recorded in a club in front of a live audience, Shepp digs deep into his own history of influential tenor players and comes out not wanting, but on par with them, from Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis to Sonny Rollins to John Coltrane. His playing here is big, meaty, and warm, full of subtle emotions as well as bleating cries. Davis' sense of time and melody is nearly incredible on the title track and on "'Round Midnight." The interplay Shepp shares with him is tasty, coming from fragmentary elements in Monk's changes; Shepp and Davis move around the lyric and cut to the heart of the tune's color and ambiguity. It's a haunting version and one that offers a completely different reading of the tune over 17 minutes. On "Pannonica," Shepp's blues feeling comes out of Ben Webster as well as Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and his soloing is full of warmth, humor, and a ragged sort of elegance. This -- like Shepp's date with Horace Parlan, Goin' Home -- is a major addition to the saxophonist's catalog. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Archie Shepp & Richard Davis
Album: Body and Soul
Year: 1989 (Recorded live at Club Cantare, Boston in October 1st, 1989)
Label: Enja (1991)
Total time: 54:18

Tracks:
1.  Things Ain't What They Used To Be (Mercer Ellington) 12:36
2.  Body And Soul (Johnny Green) 17:17
3.  Pannonica (Thelonious Monk) 7:21
4.  Round About Midnight (Thelonious Monk) 17:03

Personnel:
Archie Shepp (Tenor Saxophone)
Richard Davis (Double Bass)

5 comments:

  1. Fantastic recording. What a feeling!!!

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  2. Thank you for this CD and for your inspirational blog. This recording is truly "Art Of The Duo," as the cover art would have it. Fabulous version of 'Round Midnight, the Monk song. I don't understand why it is titled "Round About Midnight", which is the name of a Miles Davis recording.

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