Shepp, Archie

Shepp, Archie

(1937–  ) jazz musician; born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Raised in Philadelphia, he studied drama at Goddard College before emerging in 1960 as a saxophonist with Cecil Taylor, whose ensemble was appearing in the off-Broadway production of The Connection. Throughout the 1960s he was a spokesman for the jazz avant-garde and a leader of the Jazz Composers Guild and other collectives. In 1964 he began leading his own stylistically eclectic groups which eventually gained a wide following in Europe. In addition to his performing career, he wrote plays and essays, and taught African-American studies at the University of Massachusetts (1973).