Shepp’s latest release is a great 40th anniversary recreation of his famous 1972 live album Attica Blues, a black-consciousness riposte to the four-day riot at Attica prison – sparked by the death, in 1971, of the Black Panther George Jackson – which left 43 people dead.
Recorded live at a Paris festival, a core of US players including Amina Claudine Myers and Don Moye join forces with a largely French big band, plus vocalists and string quartet.
The arrangements are funky (check the opening “Attica Blues” for Reggie Washington’s slap-bass) and Shepp blows his sax superbly in his trademark weeping-with-emotion way.
You can see the Attica Blues Orchestra close the London Jazz Festival at the Barbican next Sunday.
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