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CD/LP/Track Review

Joe McPhee: Trinity

By Published: April 1, 2001
Joe McPhee: Trinity Even for Joe McPhee, Trinity is a far-ranging record. He writes in the liner notes (genuinely, I'm sure) that in this spare trio setting, "the area I wanted to work became more defined." In fact, that area is about as broad as you can possibly imagine. McPhee delivers animalistic howls, plaintive melodies, and bluesy ramble, each in turn. Meanwhile, the group sound spans from free-range "space" music with vocals to high-intensity Tayloresque energy over punchy drums. Each duo combination is explored at length, winding in and out of trio improvisation. In the grand culmination, a passage of military marching beats leads into ironic silence.

The divergent styles on Trinity merge into a coherent whole through the sense that this group is simply allowing improvisation to guide their voyage. Very little of the music on this disc sounds "planned"—and as a result, it's the conversational open-endedness of Trinity that shines. Though I wouldn't recommend this disc to listeners without an ear for the unpredictable, it's an admirable document of rare creativity. Those few owners of the highly-compressed 1972 original LP will take heart in the expanded sonics of this reissue.


Track Listing: Ionization; Astral Spirits; Delta.

Personnel: Joe McPhee: tenor and soprano saxophones, trumpet, pocket cornet; Mike Kull: piano and electric piano; Harold E. Smith: percussion.

Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide

Style: Modern Jazz



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