Swindle from Universal
ziryab | Bethlehem, PA | 11/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a reissue of a collection of late sixties tracks. Great stuff indeed except if you already own "The way ahead". Two of the tracks "New Africa" and "Bakai" are the bonus tracks added at the end of 1998 reissue of "The way ahead". Don't waste your money for an expensive reissue of 3 songs (less than 20 minutes of music) unless you are a big fan of Shepp."
Shepp the dramatist
Swing King | Cincinnati, OH USA | 04/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Kwanza" offers a nice collection of tracks recorded by Shepp in 1968 and 1969 for Impulse!, where the saxophonist is accompanied by a large assortment of performers. This album is a thematic exploration of Africa, with Shepp expressing his compositional ability with characteristic cultural and artistic feeling. The creative combination of artsy vocal arrangements and instrumental improvisation come together to produce one of Shepp's more theatrical releases, behind only 1972's "Attica Blues".
Trumpeter Woody Shaw helped to breathe brand new life into the old tune "Bakai", and the roll of musicians appearing on these tracks is exhaustive. The standout players seem to be Woody Shaw (t), Cedar Walton (p), Joe Chambers (d) and James Spaulding (as). There are many more, but these are the more notable members of Shepp's big band. A recording that encompasses free improvisation with a bit of infused funk, "Kwanza" will certainly please fans of Shepp's 1966 "Mama Too Tight" and 1972 "Attica Blues".