Archie Shepp became one of free jazz idols in late 60s-early 70s but disappointed many fans when switched towards blues-r'n'b rooted music in mid 70s.His music from late 70s-early 80s is usually strongly criticized or even ignored as fall down to simplified mainstream jazz,what is only partially true.
Starting from mid 70's Shepp become much more prolific recording several albums every year, as rule for different labels. His long lasting contract with Japanese Denon resulted in series well-produced but very often too safe and conservative hard-bop albums (it was what Japanese market expected from him first of all). Some releases on tiny Italian labels are usually most advanced, but inconsistent, and could be hardly recommendable. In fact, his best works from that time are advanced hard-bop,recorded for Danish SteepleChase."I Know About The Live" is Shepp's sole release for Canadian Sackville label ever and by its qualities it could be placed close to SteepleChase albums.
Just four compositions, recorded in Canada with quite regular quartet, including mainstream pianist Ken Werner and bop-rooted but advanced rhythm section. Santi DeBriano plays rich physical bass,similar to NHO Pedersen's one.John Betsch (ex-Billy Bang,Marilyn Crispell,Steve Lacy,etc) is advanced and technical drummer, but here he's rooted in blues as well.
Opener Monk's "Well You Needn't" sounds seriously de-constructed by Shepp's tenor soloing and squeals. Tune is never disappearing,but Shepp builds whole own quirky world around it. Shepp's own "I Know About The Life" is soulful and almost melancholic (but in good sense) here.Coltrane's "Giant Steps" are surprisingly fast and energetic, with some echoes of Shepp's sound from previous decade. Twelve minutes long closer "Round Midnight" is non-sentimental ballad, antipode of all what two decades later will be recorded for Japanese Tokuma/Venus label by many leading jazz veterans (including Shepp himself).
Not the best but representative album from Shepp's early 80's transitional period,his vision of advanced hard-bop.
P.S. Tracks order of original vinyl and Swiss Hathut CD reissue by some reason is almost oppositely different.