Worth looking for
gavin | Denver, CO United States | 02/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stop and take a closer look at this album! This is one of the obscure gems of jazz. Featuring songs associated with Charlie Parker, Archie Shepp on saxophone and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson on bass explore the legacy of the great bebop master. The instrumentation may seem odd and you may pass on this because it's just saxophone and bass. Instead without drums or piano, the songs have a spaciousness not usually found in the complex harmonies and elaborate melodies of bebop. If you know Archie Shepp, you know that he is not someone you would expect to reflect on Charlie Parker's style and sound. Shepp typically plays in an unpolished, crude style. He appears to choose this for an emotionally direct approach to the music and his improvisation. Pedersen, on the other hand, is the opposite. HIs style is clear and virtuosic and the contrast between these two musicians is positively enlightening!For the most part, each tune is a straightforward statement of the melody followed by some jamming by this duo. Shepp switches between tenor and soprano, never touching Parker's alto. Shepp wanders in and out of key (as well as tune!), but always with great taste and sense. He never comes near the bop sensibility, but he doesn't have to, this is honest, brilliant stuff. Pedersen is the perfect alter ego for this style. He is immaculately clear, alternating between walking bass lines and overtone chords. The sax plays outside the rhythms while the bass is a real metronome.Of the thousands of recordings I have, this one is one of the desert island choices. Don't hesitate, you won't be sorry buying this."
Stunning on every listen.
mlewando | 11/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have had this record for 20 years, and I keep playing it and playing it. Shepp is terrific on this one: inventive, intense as always, but never losing the sense of the tune. When the avant-garde, adventurous, and gifted jazz musicians like Shepp come back to their roots, they always bring something interesting and unique out of the old music. Great tunes and a great partner are critical for a duet record like this, and Shepp has both here. NHOP is cooler but equally impressive, providing suberb and inventive accompaniment throughout and some fine solos. I love all the tunes, but this rendition of "Embraceable You" is amazing. This is a must-have for Shepp fans, and, like the previous reviewer, it's definitely on my desert island list."