Today is the birthday of two more musicians mentioned in the JassOdyssey series. I was first introduced to them while roaming the halls as a student at HU. Archie Shepp, a popular saxophone player famous for his Afrocentric music was born on this day in 1937. “Attica Blues” was a memorable album composed and performed by him. It referenced the famous Attica prison riot, which took place in 1971. As was typical for that period, the music was loud and rebellious, a lot like some of the students that occupied the administration building on many college campuses (though I was not one of them).
Also born on this day in 1941 was Charles Earland–definitely one of my favorite jazz musicians. His nickname was ‘The Mighty Burner’ because he could burn ‘the hell’ out of the Hammon B3 organ. “Intensity’ was one of my top five albums. In college, I played it so loud and often that the dorm RA threatened to kick me out of the building. That’s when I started using headphones, but I still played the album loud and often. “Happy Cause I’m Going Home,” one of the songs on the album, is bitter-sweet for me. Sweet because the music is so good; bitter because it was the last song that Lee Morgan ever recorded. Two days later he was dead (another story for another blog). I still occasionally listen to it, because when I hear it, I’m always Happy Cause I’m Going Home. If you get a chance, you should listen to both albums.
Happy Birthday Archie and Charles. Let’s make ‘Attica Blues’ and ‘Intensity’ the Jazz Album(s) of the Day!