Album: Archie Shepp, Joachim Kuhn, Wo!Man (Archie Ball)

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The Independent Culture

At 74, Shepp's saxophone voice has lost some of its raw intensity, but his phrasing is gloriously intact, full of lateral, bluesy-sounding shots across the bows of the melody.

This duo with pianist Kuhn starts slowly but heats up although the performances are uneven. Ornette's "Lonely Woman" struggles against over-fussy pianism, and Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady", while good enough, will never match Shepp's epochal version with vocalist Jeanne Lee.

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