Magazine article The New Yorker

Goings on about Town

Magazine article The New Yorker

Goings on about Town

Article excerpt

Many avant-garde players make a big first impression and then quietly disappear, but others are making graceful transitions into later life, generating as much heat today as they did when they initially arrived on the scene.

Some thirty-five years ago, the tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp and the trombonist Roswell Rudd headed up a series of ensembles that mixed post-Coltrane effusions, R. & B. funk, African cross rhythms, swing-era tonalities, and radical agitprop. The results were invigorating and more than a little bit scary. Their reunion last year, captured on "Live in New York" (Verve), is a familiar, yet never comfortable, affair. If the rhythms are more polite, the themes more straightforward and bluesy, and the solos far more economical than in years past, the dogged individuality of both players' tones, not to mention their improvisational ploys, marks them as delightfully unrepentant eccentrics.

For much of the eighties, Marilyn Crispell was the pianist of choice for Anthony Braxton, the prolific saxophonist, flutist, and bandleader. …

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