Archie Shepp - Doodlin'

Archie Shepp gained fame in the 1960s as an explosive tenor-saxophonist with a raspy tone that was reminiscent of Ben Webster, and as an uninhibited improviser who could play wild 40-minute free improvisations in concerts. After stints with Cecil Taylor and trumpeter Don Cherry, he emerged as an intense and influential improviser. In later years, Shepp modified his style and proved to be a fine interpreter of ballads while never losing his edge.

Doodlin’ is a unique entry in the discography of Archie Shepp for it has him exclusively playing piano. Recorded in the early 1970s, it features Shepp (with bassist Bob Reid and occasionally drummer Muhammad Ali and flugelhornist Alan Shorter) displaying a stride piano style that sometimes hints at Thelonious Monk. On such songs as Horace Silver’s “Doodlin’,” an abstract “More Than You Know,” “Invitation,” and even “Sweet Georgia Brown,” Archie Shepp performs personal and thoughtful piano solos that will surprise even his most devoted fans.

SKU: IC1001

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Sweet Georgia Brown Doodlin' - Take 1 Doodlin' - Take 2 Invitation Worried About You If You Could See Me Now More Than You Know Coral Rock

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Archie Shepp
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Alan Shorter, Bob Reid and Muhammad Ali
SKU IC1001


Customer Reviews (3)

Shepp Exploring the Keys!Review by Big Toots
IC 1001 Doodlin’ Archie Shepp

His work impossible to categorize yet magnetically appealing (and off-putting to some), Archie Shepp’s musical career spans decades of Geo-Tectonic plate-moving shifts in jazz, cultural waves and social tsunamis. Steeped deeply in the African-American blues tradition and history, Shepp has been a brilliant explorer of new forms and soundscapes. He is, as the Romans would say, sui generis, i.e., of his own kind.
Doodlin’ validates Shepp as a brazen improvisational experimenter. Why? He leaves his Selmer home and performs the entire 8-cut session as a pianist fronting a highly-charged ensemble consisting of flugelhorn, bass and drums. Furthermore, he offers up the well-known Horace Silver title tune (twice) and one of Tadd Dameron’s, both, of course were pianists. That takes chutzpah.

On this effort, Shepp plays piano at a level that is energized, involving, and with nifty surprises of all kinds up and down his Dashiki’s sleeve. The Monk influence is obvious, although moreso with Shepp’s right “melody” hand as opposed to the chorded left (“Sweet Georgia Brown”). That notwithstanding, the rhythmic and harmonic incongruence between his improvising right and comped left makes for a “tension” that is irresistible. Plus, the piano appears to be a hair out-of-tune.

Make no mistake; Shepp is no Oscar Peterson or even that other free spirit, Cecil Taylor. But, technique is not the point. Here we have an artist looking to express himself across the horizontal plane of the piano – and he does (“Invitation” “If You Could See Me Now”). It reminds this listener of a Calder mobile or wind chimes that move in a breeze, but, here the wind is gale force in emotion. “Worried About You,” a fiercely intense uptempo item, is the freest of pieces on the date with flugelhornist Al Shorter blasting away and Shepp pounding out harmonic platforms for him. “If You Could See Me Now” has Shepp at a ballad tempo approaching the tune with an almost orchestral sonority and with bassist Bob Reid double-timing under. “More than You Know” is also rendered balladic on which Shepp offers improvised flourishes up and down the keys in sheets of glorious sound. Shepp pounds deep chords and penetrating lines above on “Coral Rock,” another slow thought-inducing offering.

I read once where Shepp’s name was misspelled as “Sheep.” Believe me: Archie was the farthest thing from a follower. This fine effort continues to confirm that.
(Posted on 5/5/2015)
Archie SheppReview by Simon Sez
This is an album that at first will have those who think they know jazz history scratching their heads. Archie Shepp is famous as a honking and screaming tenor-saxophonist from the 1960s, one of the leaders of the avant-garde. But here he is playing piano on standards!
Strangely enough, it works. Recorded in the early 1980s, it has Shepp sounding a bit like Thelonious Monk on such songs as “Invitation,” “More Than You Know” and even “Sweet Georgia Brown (who would have thought that he would ever record that tune)! Shepp plays with a group that includes Wayne Shorter’s brother Alan Shorter on flugelhorn. This is definitely a collector’s item.

Simon Sez: Archie Shepp on piano playing standards? It works on Doodlin’ (IC1001) from the 1980s, even “Sweet Georgia Brown!”
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
Review by Scott Yanow
The music is typically excellent (Tal Farlow has yet to record an unworthy date), with the very fluent bop guitarist jamming on seven standards and two originals with pianist Mike Nock, bassist Lynn Christie and (on just one song) drummer Bob Jaspe. Pick this one up if you see it. (Posted on 6/14/2013)

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