Last Call Review: Archie Shepp Attica Blues Orchestra/ I Hear the Sound / Archieball Records
A remarkable orchestral jazz work recorded in France in the last two years, I Hear The Sound is a live performance of material from saxophonist Archie Shepp, "Attica Blues". The big band effort brings to a new generation of listeners material first presented in 1972 on Impulse.
"Attica Blues" was written by Archie Shepp in response to a prison riot that took place in September, 1971 at Attica State Correctional Facility in New York. A large group of prisoners took control of part of the prison, where they held hostages, for five days. The prison was retaken by force on September 13, with the loss of twenty-nine prisoners and ten hostages.
Shepp's impeccable artistry, on tenor and soprano saxophone and vocals, is aided by very fine artists such as Amina Claudine Myers (piano, vocals) Famoudou Don Moye(drummer and percussionist), Reggie Washington(bass) and vocalists Marion Rampal and Cecile McLorin Salvant, in addition to French horn and string sections. Jimmy Owens, who first worked with Shepp in the 1960s as a trumpeter, conducts the ensemble.
Besides the material from the original "Attica Blues" recording the live presentation includes "Mama Too Tight", from an 1967 Shepp release of the same name, as well a respectful and deeply felt rendition of Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday".
I Hear The Sound is worth hearing.