The New York Contemporary Five, although somewhat forgotten today, was a particularly noteworthy group during its year of existence -- a pioneering avant-garde combo. Trumpeter Don Cherry had recently departed from the Ornette Coleman Quartet and he was just beginning to stretch out into folk music when he helped form the group. Tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp, who had played with Cecil Taylor, was still a minor name at the time but was maturing rapidly. Altoist John Tchicai first gained a bit of notice during his period with the quintet, while bassist Don Moore and drummer J.C. Moses formed a flexible and complementary rhythmic base. The New York Contemporary Five primarily played in Europe during its year, recording four albums from 1962-63 (two apiece for Fontana and Sonet) and one in February 1964 for Savoy (with Shepp, Tchicai and either Ted Curson or Don Cherry on trumpet being joined by bassist Ronnie Boykins and drummer Sunny Murray) before its inevitable breakup.
Share this page