Archie Shepp was a popular topic of conversation among jazz fans during the 1970s, as it was becoming increasingly clear that a profound change was taking place in his approach to music and even his physical appearance. For years he had been the embodiment of black resistance, dressing in traditional African garments and protesting against the suppression of black people. But now he was wearing suits and had given up his free style of playing in favour of interpretations of well-known pieces from the jazz tradition. Inevitably, the changes upset some people and pleased others. But Shepp never made it easy for people to judge him, and ignoring the talk he continued along the straight path, which had already led him to a place among the jazz greats while he was still a young man.