Thursday, January 11, 2007

Max Roach & Archie Shepp - Force (Uniteledeis, 1976)

This very rare out-of-print LP goes for quite a bit of cash on the web, so it was very nice for the OOP free jazz blog Church Number Nine to make it available for downloading. Shepp and Roach aren't really what you might think of as compatible musicians, with Roach being one of the architects of bebop and Shepp the New Thing firebrand. But an interesting thing happened as their careers developed. Archie Shepp, like his musical descendant David Murray came inward from his free jazz beginnings to embrace a core of bebop, ballads and blues while Max Roach extended his reach by duetting with the likes of Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor. On this set, there are four vinyl length duets, each of which allow both Shepp and Roach (particularly the latter) to make some very fascinating solo statements in the free context. They also show some admirable teamwork, with neither trying to dominate the situation. So, unless you have some serious cash to drop for the vinyl, this makes for an excellent download for open eared jazz fans.

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