The two LPs full of music that Archie Shepp recorded with his quintet at the Jazz Festival Montreux in 1975 are widely acclaimed as the best work from the start of his neoclassicist period in the early to mid-seventies.
When I started listening to jazz in the early eighties, I started with the classic free jazz of the sixties, and Archie Shepp was one of my early favorites (still is). His albums for Impulse up to 1967 were on my daily listening list. I have to admit that I was disappointed when I acquired “Montreux One” then, as young and ignorant me thought it was tame compared to ”Fire Music” or “On This Night”. I only came to like and love the music years later, when I stumbled over a cheap copy of “Montreux Two” which I bought just to fill the hole in my collection. And surprise: I liked it very much. And my feelings extended to “Montreux One” as well.
When I got to know swiss jazz collector and researcher Otto Flückiger in the early nineties, visits to his house always ended with Otto showing some jazz videos he had collected over the years. One evening he asked me what I would like to see, handing me a list of his VHS cassettes. When I saw Shepp’s Montreux concert on the list, I immediately picked that one. I remember Otto searching quite a while for it, but he did not manage to come up with the cassette. The box in which it should have been was empty. But two days ago, I opened up another box of old VHS cassettes and found the TV broadcast in an unmarked box. As soon as I noticed that the music really was as fine as I remembered, I decided to digitize it and put it up on the internet. Unfortunately picture quality is rather grainy and the colors have become flat. Oh how I wish Claude Nobs would edit all the Montreux stuff and put it on DVDs, there were so many great artists filmed in Montreux, especially in the seventies!
So here for your enjoyment are Archie Shepp, Charles Majid Greenlee, Dave Burrell, Cameron Brown and Beaver Harris playing “Crucificado” by Dave Burrell and “Miss Toni” written by trombonist Greenlee on July 18, 1975, at the Montreux Jazz Festival.