Important late 60s work from Archie Shepp – all recorded in Paris in 1969! First up is the album Blase – a crucial album from Archie Shepp – one that finds him enjoying new freedoms on the French scene at the end of the 60s – which then helps him take off from his earlier Impulse Records modes, at a level he'd then bring back to the label in the early 70s! There's a very free-thinking sense of combination here – as Shepp is breaking down from his idea of a more unified sound in the material – and opens the door at points to work from Jeanne Lee on voice and Chicago Beau and Julio Finn on harmonicas – in a lineup that also includes Malachi Favors on bass, Dave Burrell
on piano, and Philly Joe Jones on drums. These are long, spiritual tracks that comprise some of his best European recordings of the time, and the titles include "There is a Balm in Gilead", "Touareg", "Blase", and "My Angel" – plus a strong reading of "Sophisticated Lady" – which maybe points the way towards some of the Shepp experiments in the late 70s. Next is the long title track from the album Yasmina, a Black Woman – a set that features Archie Shepp at his spiritual best – recording in Paris in 1969, and absorbing a heck of a lot pan-African influences! Shepp's in the lead on tenor – working with a great lineup of up-and coming avant geniuses – Clifford Thortnton on cornet, Lester Bowie on trumpet, Roscoe Mitchell on bass saxophone, Dave Burrell
on piano, Malachi Favors on bass, Philly Joe Jones and Sunny Murray on drums – and the unusual addition of Art Taylor on "rhythm logs" and Laurence Devereaux on balafon! The centerpiece of the album is the amazing "Yasmina" – a long track that builds with passion and fire, pulsing with an intensity that you'd expect more from Pharoah Sanders than Shepp himself.