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The New York Contemporary Five

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, June 15, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2010 Jazz Times Critics Ballot - Historical/Reissues Top Ten

Ever since he burst on the scene in the late 60s Archie Shepp has been recognized as one of the great avant-garde jazz artists of all time. The New York Contemporary Five are Archie Shepp, tenor sax; John Tchicai, alto sax; Don Cherry, cornet; Don Moore, bass; J.C. Moses, drums. Recorded November 11, 1963 at Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen. Features six compositions: Cisum, Crepuscule With Nellie, O.C., When Will The Blues Leave, The Funeral and Mik.


Since this was a recording of a performance, one is treated to a display of raw, highly emotional music. At turns the music is sloppy, powerful, imperfect, moving, irritating - but always alive and distinctly human. --Cadence

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cisum (11:00)
  2. Crepuscule With Nellie (2:12)
  3. O.C. (6:25)
  4. When Will the Blues Leave (8:14)
  5. The Funeral (4:58)
  6. Milk (7:24)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 15, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Delmark
  • ASIN: B003F8L9TU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,315 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
The New York Contemporary Five marked a relatively brief chapter in Archie Shepp's career; they existed for barely two years and played almost exclusively in Europe. Today, the group is recognized as an important stepping stone in the mainstream of the emerging free movement of the early '60s, when Shepp had yet to claim his place alongside John Coltrane in the vanguard of "the New Jazz".

The record was recorded live in Copenhagen in 1963. The sound bears a strong resemblance to Ornette Coleman's during the same period, and even includes Don Cherry (performing on a "battered Civil War cornet"), who appeared on a number of Coleman's records between 1958 and '61. The Five pivot between straightforward, hard-swinging post-bop numbers (Coleman's "When Will the Blues Leave") and exploratory improvisations (Shepp's "The Funeral").

There's little that hasn't been written already about these musicians. Suffice it to say that the present set finds them in excellent form. An egalitarian ethos permeates the performance; the musicians are equal partners, and no one horn predominates. A highlight is the album opener "Cisium", on which J.C. Moses' drums provide a frantically shifting tonal backdrop to a set of raw, energetic solos.--Zachary Young, OffBeat Magazine, January 2011 issue, [...].
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