• Jazz it up!
    January 21,2013

    $PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Photos and text by Stefan Hard$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

    Jazz legend Archie Shepp returned with a bang — or more like a major musical commotion.

    Shepp returned to Goddard College on Saturday, more than a half-century after he was a student at the Plainfield-based school. He received a Goddard Award for Excellence and, along with his quartet, delivered a world-class performance that had a packed house in the Haybarn Theater rocking and bobbing in their seats.

    In the mid-1950s, Shepp enrolled at Goddard planning to study law. He ended up learning that he had talent as a playwright. He also went on to write poetry, teach and became politically active. Most notably, he excelled as a jazz instrumentalist and vocalist, and is now known around the world for his musical talents.

    Shepp, a big star in Europe and a resident of Paris, France, was welcomed with high praise Saturday at Goddard, and he responded with a varied and energetic performance that belied his 75 years.

    Following Shepp’s lead, his quartet played some jazz improvisations that left the audience delighted.

    Shepp credited Goddard with expanding his horizons as a young man coming from the ghettoes of urban Philadelphia. And he thanked Vermont for helping to set him apart and set him on an unconventional path.

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