Yoshis, Oakland
October 11, 2012
10pm set

Never seen Archie before – was debating about this – plus, Yoshis, both of them, have SUCKED of late, and I haven’t been in quite a while. It’s like I’m mad at them, and justifiably so since for years they were the best thing about the Bay Area, now they Kenny G and John Tesh multiple times a year (though this month there’s this, plus Tyshawn Sorey(!) and Ron Carter). But notice, 6 awesome shows in a week – none that seemed necessary, but all overstepped their expectations and were excellent – and only 1 of them at Yoshis. Oh well. Anyways, I found ½ price ticket on Goldstar, so went to the 10pm set only. Shepp is, what, 75? (looked it up, he is) – but still playing very much the same, it seems – great, rich tone, babbles a bit, but nails excellent soulful lines in there, plus that edgy, 60’s out hint to everything. Other than Sharpe, I hadn’t heard of the other 2, but they played great – solid drumming, and excellent piano solos. The band had a  real nice hustle and movement to it . Archie blowing longtime, with his rich tone. McClung ripped off some very good solos, and his original “Burning Bright” was one of the better tunes of the night.

Sharpe – damn, that guy can play some bass – strumming and everything. A really nice band. Archie sang, improving I think, on 2 tunes. The lyrics seemed to follow tunes I thought I knew (Come Sunday, My Ideal, I think), but the lyrics were not those lyrics, so I think he was just going at it with whatever. Decent though. He’s an odd duck – someone I’ve never really wrapped my head around – you think he’s a free jazz guy, or a politically intense player, but then he plays way more inside than most (with rumbling solos and out notes and an out edge, but the tunes are in the pocket), or he’ll croon his way through a tune, all wispy and Johnny Hartman-ish. 1st tune was a long, rambling tenor solo – but they tightened up from there on with some nice Archie playing and all. A very pleasantly surprising, very good show. Good stuff Mr. Shepp.

set list

1. Hope 2

2. My Ideal

3. Un Petite Surprise Pour Mademoiselle

4. Come Sunday

5. The Stars Are In Your Eyes

6. Burning Bright

ARCHIE SHEPP – tenor sax, vocals

TOM McCLUNG – piano