Attica Blues

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Refining his large-ensemble experiments of 1971, Attica Blues is one of Archie Shepp's most significant post-'60s statements, recorded just several months after authorities ended the Attica prison uprising by massacring 43 inmates and hostages. Perhaps because Shepp's musical interests were changing, Attica Blues isn't the all-out blast of rage one might expect; instead, it's a richly arranged album of mournful, quietly agonized blues and Ellingtonian swing, mixed with a couple of storming funk burners. Of course, Shepp doesn't quite play it straight, bringing his avant-garde sensibilities to both vintage big band and contemporary funk, with little regard for the boundaries ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Refining his large-ensemble experiments of 1971, Attica Blues is one of Archie Shepp's most significant post-'60s statements, recorded just several months after authorities ended the Attica prison uprising by massacring 43 inmates and hostages. Perhaps because Shepp's musical interests were changing, Attica Blues isn't the all-out blast of rage one might expect; instead, it's a richly arranged album of mournful, quietly agonized blues and Ellingtonian swing, mixed with a couple of storming funk burners. Of course, Shepp doesn't quite play it straight, bringing his avant-garde sensibilities to both vintage big band and contemporary funk, with little regard for the boundaries separating them all. His soloing on tenor and soprano is typically sharp-edged and modal, and his nasal, slicing tone on soprano is featured quite heavily. The stylishness of the slow numbers is undercut with quivering, faintly unsettling dissonances, and the up-tempo funk cuts recall the way Sly Stone's arrangements ping-ponged many different elements off each other in a gleeful organized chaos. That's especially true on the gospel-inflected title song, a monster of a groove that later became a hit on the acid jazz revival circuit and stands up to anything recorded by straight-up funk bands of the era. In the same vein, "Blues for Brother George Jackson" sounds like an edgier Isaac Hayes-style blaxploitation soundtrack cut. Vocal ballads are plentiful, and Joe Lee Wilson "Steam," a song Shepp would return to often and Carl Hall aka Henry Hull both acquit themselves well; more debatable are the poetic recitations and the choice of fl├╝gelhornist/composer Cal Massey's young daughter Waheeda to sing "Quiet Dawn" although Waheeda's almost-there intonation is effectively creepy. Still, in the end, Attica Blues is one of Shepp's most successful large-group projects, because his skillful handling of so many different styles of black music produces such tremendously groovy results.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/1/2009
  • Label: Hi Horse Records
  • UPC: 725543257819
  • Catalog Number: 92220
  • Sales rank: 79,329

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Attica Blues (4:47)
  2. 2 Invocation: Attica Blues (0:19)
  3. 3 Steam, Pt. 1 (5:07)
  4. 4 Invocation to Mr. Parker (3:16)
  5. 5 Steam, Pt. 2 (5:10)
  6. 6 Blues for Brother George Jackson (4:00)
  7. 7 Invocation: Ballad for a Child (0:29)
  8. 8 Ballad for a Child (3:36)
  9. 9 Goodbye Sweet Pops (4:22)
  10. 10 Quiet Dawn (6:12)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Archie Shepp Primary Artist, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
Walter Davis Piano, Electric Piano
Clarence White Alto Saxophone
John Blake Violin
Marion Brown Flute, Percussion, Alto Saxophone, Soloist, Bamboo Flute
Dave Burrell Electric Piano
Beaver Harris Drums
Billy Higgins Drums
Leroy Jenkins Violin
Clifford Thornton Cornet
Roland Alexander Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
Cal Massey Flugelhorn, Soloist
Jimmy Garrison Bass
Kiane Zawadi Trombone, Soloist
Ollie Anderson Percussion
Joshie Armstead Vocals, Background Vocals
Roy Burrowes Trumpet, Soloist
Walter Davis Jr. Electric Piano
Nene DeFense Percussion
Cornell Dupree Guitar
Romulus Franceschini Conductor, Vocals
Bazzi Bartholomew Gray Narrator
Charles "Majeed" Greenlee Trombone
Henry Hull Vocals
Hakim Jami Euphonium
Gerald Jemmott Bass, Soloist
Ronald Lipscomb Cello, Viola
Waheeda Massey Vocals
Charles McGhee Trumpet, Soloist
Michael Ridley Trumpet
Albertine Robinson Vocals, Background Vocals
Calo Scott Cello, Viola
Lakshminarayana Shankar Violin
Charles Stephens Trombone, Soloist
James Ware Baritone Saxophone
Joe Lee Wilson Vocals
Bill Robinson Tenor Saxophone
Juma Sultan Percussion
Billy Robinson Tenor Saxophone
Roland Wilson Bass, Electric Bass, Bass Guitar
Technical Credits
Archie Shepp Composer
Bazzi Bartholomew Gray Text
Tony May Engineer
Ed Michel Producer
Mark Smith Reissue Assistant Producer
W.G. Harris Composer
Bryan Koniarz Reissue Producer
Ken Druker Executive Producer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Steve Huey = Fool

    This album includes a great collection of tracks: raucous funk numbers, brief spoken word pieces, and some colorful ballads. The title track Attica Blues will most likely burn your blouse off, so beware. Most importantly for the purposes of this review, a young young daughter of one of the members of the musical ensemble sings Quiet Dawn. She is great. Steve Huey dismisses her inclusion on the album as "debatable" but Steve Huey has no taste in music, so it's ok. As a student I've had the pleasure of playing with Mister Shepp. Regrettably I hadn't listened to Attica Blues at the time. I would have told him the title track singed my eyebrows and threw me into convulsions.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews