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Archie Shepp Quotes

A whole generation of young whites have involved themselves with traditional Negro music.

And when I met Cecil Taylor it was a complete transformation of musical identities. All the tenets that I had grown up with were thrown out the window.

Black music has become a commercial commodity. Live performances are not so accessible as they were previously. It use to be possible to go to the bar on the corner and hear music. It was available for a fifteen cent beer.

I find that here in the States, audiences are generally less knowledgeable, from the cognitive point of view, though they are emotionally more receptive.

In America, for a brief time, people who followed Coltrane were studied and considered important, but it didn't last long. The result is that the kind of music I played in the '60's is completely dismissed in this country as a wrong turn, a suicidal effort.

In rap music, even though the element of poetry is very strong, so is the element of the drum, the implication of the dance. Without the beat, its commercial value would certainly be more tenuous.

It was a particularly interesting and exciting time, and the European political and artistic establishment was turned on by the Civil Rights Movement and the artistic revolution that was becoming a part of jazz.

Negro music and culture are intrinsically improvisational, existential. Nothing is sacred. After a decade, a musical idea, no matter how innovative, is threatened.

Rap actually took root in the Negro community, and then in the Hispanic community, long before it impacted on the larger American community as a whole.

So, I was just a young guy, maybe with an idea, and Cecil Taylor, himself a rebel, would take a chance on a guy like me. It turned out to be a very symbiotic partnership. I learned a lot from him.

So, rap has that quality, for youth anyway; it's a kind of blues element. It's physical, almost gymnastic. It speaks to you organically. Rap grows out of what young people really are today, not only black youth, but white - everybody.

To some degree, yeah, because I have to play a certain number of originals that might be considered avant-garde material. I realize though, that only a few people in the audience actually know what that music is, or understand it.

Today, music is visual.

Yes, the audience is so important to Negro music, especially the element of call and response.

You get a show where people are jumping up and dancing, but it's not a critical event in the sense of profound catharsis. Essentially it's celebratory.