Archie Shepp & The New York Contemporary Five: Consequences




The New York Contemporary Five


Archie Shepp & The New York Contemporary Five (Storyville 8385)

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Archie Shepp (tenor sax), Don Cherry (trumpet), John Tchicai (reeds),

Don Moore (bass), and J.C. Moses (drums)


Composed by Don Cherry


Recorded: Copenhagen, November 15, 1963


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

The short-lived New York Contemporary Five was one of the early Ornette Coleman-influenced groups, and one of trumpeter Don Cherry's more significant projects apart from Coleman. On this live performance of Cherry's tune "Consequences," the group displays a rougher edge than the famous Coleman quartet. It's a garrulous music that foreshadows a more aggressive version of free jazz to come.

The track comprises a brief, herky-jerky freebop melody that leads into a solo section at a very quick tempo. Cherry begins with an energetic, rhythmically active spot highlighting his utterly free approach. Cherry plays specific pitches, but one would be hard-pressed to nail down exactly which specific pitches he plays at any given moment - he plays between the cracks. John Tchicai follows on alto, his manner very much like Ornette's, especially in terms of tone, although Tchicai's lines tend to be more discontinuous. On tenor, Archie Shepp alternates between engaging the tempo and breaking free entirely. His tone is sandpaper-rough, his phrasing loose to the point of being almost unhinged. The rhythm section is fine; drummer J.C. Moses plays very strong without overwhelming his bandmates.

The thick sonority resulting from the three-horn front line makes for an exciting group sound. "Consequences" is a fine example of this great early free jazz group at the top of its game.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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