This is arguably Archie Shepp's most accessible IMPULSE! recording as well as being an underrated classic of 60s 'New Wave' jazz.
Shepp is usually associated with the avant-garde but has always celebrated the jazz tradition and there is a strong blues feeling on this CD. The opener, 'Damn If I Know', has particularly fervent tenor sax from Shepp with fine support from pianist Walter Davis Jr. and bassist Ron Carter. Duke Ellington's 'Sophisticated Lady' is dramatic,sensuous and impassioned with great playing from Shepp(tenor),Ron Carter(bass) and Roy Haynes(drums). Grachan Moncur III's 'Frankenstein' first appeared on Jackie McLean's 'One Step Beyond'(see my review) and is given an exciting work-out hear with stirring trombone from the composer.
The CD also includes two bonus tracks from Shepp's obscure IMPULSE! album 'Kwanza'.
All in all, 'The Way Ahead' is an ideal introduction to Archie Shepp's music and should be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates adventurous and passionate modern jazz.