I’m psyched… today in the mail I got my VHS copy of Archie Shepp: I Am Jazz… It’s My Life (so KRS is hip-hop and Shepp is jazz… got it), a hard-to-find 1984 documentary about saxophonist Archie Shepp, who I am mildly obsessed with. I love coming across little things like this–particularly things I’ve been looking to buy for over five years–because in this day and age of everything being so easily accessible and the obscure becoming popular, it’s rare that I can feel like I’ve really stumbled across something important that hasn’t been (re-)discovered yet. It’s like finding an amazing piece of vinyl that hasn’t been re-released on CD. Or finding a great single with a b-side that never appeared on a compilation. It’s getting more and more rare to find something truly rare.

But rarity alone doesn’t make for a good find. What made this a good find for me (in addition to the price) is that there’s so little video out there of Archie Shepp. He was in the great Imagine the Sound, a documentary about free jazz, and there are one or two recent performances captured on PAL DVDs, but nothing from the early days. While this 1984 film comes from arguably his least creative period as an artist, it should still be pretty enlightening. I really wish there was some footage of his performances at Newport or in San Francisco in the 1960s. Maybe I just need to dig deeper for it.