All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Ken Vandermark's TOPOLOGY Nonet w/Joe McPhee: Impressions Of Po Music

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Food scientists know that human taste buds favor three items, sweet, salty and fat. Although abundant today, our prehistoric ancestors scavenged for these scarce commodities. A musical arranger, like a great chef, can serve up delectable music by skillfully combining the three tastes.

Our chef, the musical impresario Ken Vandermark, organized this nonet tribute to Joe McPhee and his influential music by inviting the great man to record with eight Chicago musicians. All would probably name McPhee as their personal demigod. Vandermark presents McPhee's music and his arrangements for the TOPOLOGY Nonet. The draw here is Vandermark's talent for organization, and the possibilities of McPhee's compositions.

Vandermark scoops huge chunks from McPhee's Po Music Oleo (HatOLOGY, 1982), beginning with "Impressions Of Astral Spirits/Age" that combines the sweet science of organized sound and a swirling cauldron of energy. Drummer Tim Daisy manages to keep all the plates spinning throughout with his unlimited supply of animation. Likewise, "Impressions Of Eroc Tinu" balances near entropy with some crafted soloing. Vandermark's arrangements avert the anticipated meltdowns, allowing the pieces to rise above the mayhem.

The meat of this session is the interplay between McPhee's open compositions and Vandermark's orchestration. Certainly the cast of solid improvisers recognize the tug of improvisation and the pull of organization. On "Impressions Of Future Retrospective" the Nonet exercises a pulsing blues ringing with vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz's metallurgy and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm's relentless attack. Vandermark weaves the music with searing solos from cornetist Josh Berman, saxophonist Dave Rempis and McPhee himself. The band moves from the heavy to quiet on "Impressions Of Sweet Dragon" featuring the interplay between Lonberg-Holm, trombonist Jeb Bishop and Vandermark, on clarinet. The shortest track (at 4:47), "Impressions Of Goodbye Tom B.," is an unaccompanied tenor duet between McPhee and Vandermark. Taken from the landmark solo recording Tenor (HatOLOGY, 1977), the piece recreates feverish excitement of that remarkable time.

Track Listing: Impressions Of Astral Spirits/Age; Impressions Of Future Retrospective; Impressions Of Sweet Dragon; Impressions Of Goodbye Tom B.; Impressions Of Eroc Tinu; Impressions Of Pablo/Violets For Pia; Impressions Of Knox.

Personnel: Joe McPhee: tenor saxophone; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Josh Berman: cornet; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Tim Daisy: drums; Kent Kessler; bass; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello, electronics; Dave Rempis: saxophones; Ken Vandermark: clarinet, tenor saxophone.

Title: Impressions Of Po Music | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Okka Disc


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Sonic Fiction" CD/LP/Track Review Sonic Fiction
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 4, 2018
Read "The Influencing Machine" CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Leading The British Invasion" CD/LP/Track Review Leading The British Invasion
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 31, 2017
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Magnetic" CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "The Bug" CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017