Archie Shepp, Melvin Van Peebles and The Heliocentrics in Paris

Jazz à la Villette 2015

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Cast Program notes More info


Archie Shepp — Tenor/saxophonist
Melvin Van Peebles — Rapper
The Heliocentrics
Adrian Owusu — Guitarist
Tom Hodges — Electronics
Shabaka Hutchings — Bass-clarinet
Ollie Parfitt — Pianist
Jessica Lauren — Pianist
Jake Ferguson — Bass guitarist
Malcolm Catto — Drummer
Jack Yglesias — Percussionist

Program notes

In 2014, the stage of the Jazz à La Villette saw The Heliocentrics gather Archie Shepp and Melvin Van Peebles for an avant-garde performance revolving around the human journey and what philiosopher Blaise Pascal called "the eternal silence of these infinite spaces". The British collective, strongly influenced by Sun Ra—as evidenced by their exploration of themes such as the universe and the human existence—accompanies to perfection the profound slam poetry of the legend of Blaxploitation films and Shepp's virtuosic improvised melodic lines.

The concert is made up of 12 pieces, each leading us on a different journey, beginning with Prologue and ending with Epilogue, traveling through the Big Bang Reincarnation and The Cavern. Adding a cinematic touch to this modernist work, director Alain Rimbert projects a symbolist and experimental video behind the performers. A total work of art in which Shepp's virtuosic ability and Van Peebles's intense and wise voice and words complete each other marvellously. In 2021, the latter sadly passed away, thus joining Pascal in proverbial silence...

More info

Directed by:
Samuel Thiebaut
Production date: 2015
Production: Oléo Films/Sombrero & Co/Boulevard de la Prod

Available until

Sunday, May 31, 2026