In the late 1970s and beyond, Shepp's career went between various old territories and various new ones. He continued to explore African music, while also recording blues, ballads, spirituals (on the 1977 album Goin' Home with Horace Parlan) and tributes to more traditional jazz figures such as Charlie Parker and Sidney Bechet, while at other times dabbling in R&B, and recording with various European artists including Jasper van't Hof, Tchangodei and Dresch Mihály. Since the early 1990s, he has often played with the French trumpet player Eric Le Lann.
He populates his musical world with themes and stylistic elements provided by the greatest voices of jazz: from Ellington to Monk and Mingus, from Parker to Siver and Taylor. His technical and emotional capacity enables him to integrate the varied elements inherited by the Masters of Tenor from Webster to Coltrane into his own playing but according to his very own combination: the wild raspiness of his attacks, his massive sound sculpted by a vibrato mastered in all ranges, his phrases carried to breathlessness, his abrupt level changes, the intensity of his tempos but also the velvety tenderness woven into a ballad. His play consistently deepens the spirit of the two faces of the original black American music: blues and spirituals. His work with classics and with his own compositions (Bessie Smith’s Black Water Blues or Mama Rose) contributes to maintaining alive the power of strangeness of these two musics in relationship to European music and expresses itself in a unique mix of wounded violence and age-old nostalgia.
The dictionary of Jazz (Robert Laffont, Bouquins) defines him in the following way: «A first rate artist and intellectual, Archie Shepp has been at the head of the Avant- Garde Free Jazz movement and has been able to join the mainstream of Jazz, while remaining true to his esthetic. He has developed a true poli-instrumentality: an alto player, he also plays soprano since 1969, piano since 1975 and more recently occasionally sings blues and standards.»
Lush life: da "Montreux one" 1976.