Some of Shepp's Best
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 07/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""On This Night" is an outstanding, if not altogether consistent, CD. It definitely contains some of Shepp's best playing, most notably the first five tracks featuring Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. The title track leads off the album in quite an eerie fashion courtesy of Christine Spencer's soprano vocals. The album's inconsistency comes from two places. First, there are three different drummers on the first five songs -- Rashied Ali plays on 1-3, J.C. Moses on 4, and Joe Chambers on 5. These drummers have very different approaches to experimental jazz, and it gives the session a haphazard rhythmic feel. The other problem with the CD is the trio session tacked on the end. While the music is very good, it really makes it feel like two wholly different albums. The trio recordings make up tracks 6-10 of the CD, but three of them are versions of "The Chased." Overall though, this is some of the best avant-garde jazz of the 60s. Not to be missed by any fan of the "New Wave.""