For Losers/Kwanza

For Losers/Kwanza

by Archie Shepp
     
 
Though the two titles featured on this Impulse two-fer were originally issued four years apart, they were recorded pretty much at the same time. For Losers, released in 1970, reflects Archie Shepp's deep fascination with rhythm & blues and soul, as well as showing how vanguard jazz drew directly from the tradition. Produced by Ed Michel, this album (and

Overview

Though the two titles featured on this Impulse two-fer were originally issued four years apart, they were recorded pretty much at the same time. For Losers, released in 1970, reflects Archie Shepp's deep fascination with rhythm & blues and soul, as well as showing how vanguard jazz drew directly from the tradition. Produced by Ed Michel, this album (and Kwanza) features Shepp in the company of Grachan Moncur III, Jimmy Owens, Woody Shaw, Charles Davis, Dave Burrell, Cedar Walton, Andy Bey, Robin Kenyatta, Cecil Payne, James Spaulding, Wilbur Ware, Beaver Harris, Bernard Purdie, Joe Chambers, Leon Thomas, and Doris Troy, to name a few. It ranges from the funky stomp of "Stick 'Em Up" with Thomas up front and which draws equally on James Brown and Rufus Thomas, through to an avant version of Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," with Troy's vocal atop a warm but angular and elastic harmonic arrangement, to a nearly straight version of Cal Massey's classic ballad "What Would It Be Without You," with beautiful interplay between Shepp's tenor and Payne's flute. The entire second side is taken up by "Un Croque Monsieur (Poem: For Losers)," an outside jazz jam of epic proportions. Kwanza, though it was recorded at nearly the same time, was not released until 1974. Its cuts display the same lineups as those on For Losers. While on the surface it would seem to be a collection of outtakes and leftovers from the earlier album, it doesn't doesn't play like one. With Michel producing only one track, and the balance by Bob Thiele, it sounds more like a direct follow-up. Shepp composed three tunes here; two of which ("Back Back" and "Slow Drag," with killer trumpet work by Shaw) reflect the tough, nasty soul and rhythm & blues foundations of the earlier album, while the other, "Spoo Pee Doo," while brief, is a curiously strange midtempo jazz ballad sung by Thomas. Moncur's modally based free workout "New Africa" appears as the set's longest and most satisfying number, with another Massey number, "Makai," which has its repetitive, labyrinthine counterpoint played to the hilt by Shepp and bassist Walter Booker. Together, For Losers and Kwanza are hotly debated but essential parts of the Shepp Impulse discography; they embody not merely the paradoxes of his vision, but the enormity of it.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2011
Label:
Impulse Records
UPC:
0600753347225
catalogNumber:
5334722

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Archie Shepp   Primary Artist,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Dave Burrell   Organ,Piano
Joe Chambers   Drums
Beaver Harris   Drums
Jimmy Owens   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Cecil Payne   Flute,Baritone Saxophone
Woody Shaw   Trumpet
James Spaulding   Alto Saxophone
Leon Thomas   Vocals
Cedar Walton   Piano
Wilbur Ware   Bass
Matthew Gee   Trombone
Robin Kenyatta   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Mel Brown   Organ,Guitar
Charles Davis   Baritone Saxophone
Grachan Moncur   Trombone
Doris Troy   Vocals
Walter Booker   Bass
Tasha Thomas   Vocals
Martin Banks   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Bob Bushnell   Bass
Wilton Felder   Bass
Bert Payne   Guitar
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie   Drums
Wally Richardson   Guitar
Albert Winston   Bass
Clarence Sharpe   Alto Saxophone
Andrew Bey   Piano
Beaver Harrison   Drums
Chinalin Sharpe   Vocals

Technical Credits

Archie Shepp   Composer
Cal Massey   Composer
Grachan Moncur   Composer
Dick Weissman   Engineer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Ed Michel   Producer
Ernie Oelrich   Engineer
Bob Simpson   Engineer
Paul Francis Webster   Composer

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