The first disc, BLASE, is a studio effort with a number of co-conspirators including several members of the AACM crowd, a drummer more known for his hard-bop playing, some blues cats on harmonica, and some absolutely gorgeous female vocals. As an attempt to simultaneously pay homage to jazz's roots (in the blues) and to look ahead to the future. On those terms the album succeeds nicely, and musicians who seem like they might clash work together well as a unit.
The second disc is a live recording which pairs Shepp and crew with a number of Algerian and Tuareg musicians. The sound quality is a bit dodgy, but the two lengthy tunes are filled with plenty of passion and joy, and one in which Shepp and crew get their point across: jazz's roots ultimately are in the traditional musics of Africa.
If there is a common theme to both discs, it is simply this: an attempt to pay homage to one's roots, and incorporate them into the then-present avant-garde scene. Worth checking out as an interesting historical document and as an engaging, mind-expanding, forward-looking set of tunes in their own right. Definitely recommended.