The most intense & assaulting album of Shepp’s career! with barely a pause in the pyromania, this screaming sax slaughter over-loads the listener like some giant back-draft fulfilling it’s full blast radius & rinsing the parameter in prolonged cataclysm. pretty much full auto… even as the A-syd fades after a seventeen minute + spate, the flailing continues.
This is one of the most extreme & protracted Free-Jazz/Fuck Em’ Up! flagellations of all time. in gradation of passion & ferity, but also it’s length & the privation of shelter, just foot to the floor, or fuck off! Or perhaps foot to the floor & fuck off!? whatever, Shepp has my admiration for being one of the most politically scathing & resistance orientated/vocal of all the Jazz brothers, actually penetrating some quite dangerous/radical or alternatively appropriate/commensurate territory. His hostility towards the adversity imposed was explicated with an explosion of black-power, pan-Africanism , anti-capitalism & ghetto sympathy/celebration & went further & with greater detail expressed than the statutory heckling of the majority of his peers & was also enacted with poetry & song titles that radiated the volume of heat this mans opinions & energy were burning at. It was not a quiet & reserved criticism…it was not a request, it was a demand, not an accusation but a delation, a judication for the infractions issued, affronted & endured. I think it’s this reason that volts his standard of passion & expostulation expressed principally through his sax, his seething over-agitated furiousness & total refusal to accept the conditions & deliction’s afflicted to a summit/individuality that I don’t feel any other reed player can claim as commonable. It’s really rage & indignation, refutation & refusal. anger & apoplexy, everything wrong in the world being slain by some divine sonic nemesis. the music almost becomes a projectile, a javelin to be plunged into the beasts vitals. It’s his anger that propels him so far, well at least that’s my theory on how such supra-sprees of total head-cleave can be obtained & sustained. It’s discordant delight to me, I can’t get enough & I feel like every injustice is being challenged & decimated, very empowering, revolutionary music, riot music, fire music at it’s prime & peak. as Shepp is quoted within the albums liner notes – ” i go to work with love in my heart. but love can express itself in bitterness and rage.”
The A-syd starts with a brisk & athletic up-tempo incision with all members syncopating one of Shepp’s complex excogitations, but it quickly escalates into ecstatic excess as Shepp just storms the building. all other instrumentations become a support structure, an auxiliary feature like flotsam in the whirl-pool. It’s not that it’s not important/great, it’s just that the colossuses cascading supernatural wrath is burning at massively magnified intensity. Beaver Harris tumbles pretty damn hard on his kit, falling down stairs for pretty much the whole set nicely. The blur bass is quite faint & our man Garrett seems lost or overwhelmed, it becomes noise really. Rudd occasionally fights for entrance but can’t seem to get through the flashing blades. what madness, just unreal!!! The second side finally sees Shepp subside after about five minutes & switch to Piano. this is Rudd’s cue, to come tread through the smoldering debris. For me it’s all about side A’s 17.27 minute massacre… the rest is just an epilogue.
This is an unequivocal masterpiece & i am pretty sure it’s my best extravagance from Shepp. He has regaled us with many other magnificent out-pouring’s, but this is just something else. Intensity wise the only other efforts from Shepp that can be pitted against Three For A Quarter are of course Mama Too Tight & The Magic Of JuJu, but the extent of the freneticism & sustained-searing on this LP definitely dust the latter. I feel that both fail to exceed/supplant/usurp, in level & length. This is the rawest, full-frontal encounter with Shepp at his maximum mordancy. psycho-sax sessions or Fuck Em’ Up at it’s peak extreme, this LP is an invaluable pilgrimage. Preposterously this album is not in print & has never been issued on CD to my knowledge. I guess it’s intensity has been deemed too severe for public health standards?! for certain one of the most regularly rotated & cherished slivers in my rekad armada. amazing!!!