Archie Vernon Shepp (born May 24, 1937) is an American jazz saxophonist, educator and playwright who since the 1960s has played a central part in the development of avant-garde jazz.
Shepp was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studied piano, clarinet, and alto saxophone before focusing on tenor saxophone. He occasionally plays soprano saxophone and piano. He studied drama at Goddard College from 1955 to 1959. He played in a Latin jazz band for a short time before joining the band of avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor. Shepp's first recording under his own name, Archie Shepp - Bill Dixon Quartet, was released on Savoy Records in 1962 and featured a composition by Ornette Coleman. Along with John Tchicai and Don Cherry, he was a member of the New York Contemporary Five. John Coltrane's admiration led to recordings for Impulse! Records, the first of which was Four for Trane in 1964, an album of mainly Coltrane compositions on which he was joined by alto player John Tchicai, trombonist Roswell Rudd, flugelhorn player Alan Shorter, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Charles Moffett.
PICTURE: ©Roland Godefroy - Archie Shepp