From the outset, Archie Shepp's terminally misunderstood Attica Blues on Impulse during the 1970s was an attempt by the saxophonist and composer to bring together the various kinds of African American musics under one heading and have them all express the conscience of the day. His ensemble featured singers, string players, horns, drums, guitars, etc. The sounds were a Gordian knot of jazz, free music, R&B, soul, groove, and even funk. In 1979 Shepp was given the opportunity to realize the project with an ensemble of his choosing at the Palais des Glaces in Paris (New York was already courting Wimpton Marsalis). Shepp chose 30 musicians and director/conductor Ray Copeland. Among the throng were saxophonists Marion Brown, John Purcell, Patience Higgins, and John Ware.
Yet another Christmas release features the Christmas vocal polyphony of Cristobal de Morales, who is regarded as the first significant Spanish composer of the Renaissance. Like most compositions for this Christian feast, his Christmas motets circulated and were performed throughout Europe, traveling far beyond Spain's borders. His archaic, mystical and expressive musical language, that one almost might term place-less and timeless, must have played a role in this dissemination. Moreover, Morales was active not only in Spanish cathedrals but also spent many years of his creative career as a papal singer in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.