Two previously unreleased 1960s performances by Don Cherry in quintet format. The first show was recorded in Denmark in 1963 (but a different date that the release on Storyville) and showcases the New York Contemporary Five, featuring Cherry with Archie Shepp, John Tchicai, Don Moore and J.C. Moses.
"Serious collectors and devoted Sheppherds only…" By 1985 Archie Shepp's tone on tenor had declined quite a bit from just a few years earlier. This should have been a strong set for the sidemen (trumpeter Enrico Rava, keyboardist Siegfried Kessler, bassist Wilbur Little and drummer Clifford Jarvis) are excellent and the repertoire is both diverse and challenging. However Shepp fouls up "Naima" by playing his out-of-tune soprano, talks and sings on the 18-minute "Little Red Moon" more than he plays tenor and his sax sounds quite sloppy on "Whisper Not" and "Sweet Georgia Brown." Despite some good moments from the supporting cast, this is one to skip.
The jazz world was immersed in controversy in 1965 when the bands of John Coltrane and Archie Shepp appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. Coltrane's own style was undergoing constant evolution, his lines more convoluted and explosive, his sound increasingly ranging to vocal cries and metallic abrasions. He had also become a figurehead of the "avant-garde" or "New Thing," an established star who provided a public forum for younger musicians and the creative ferment largely taking place out of public hearing.