Home » Jazz News » Event


Elysium Furnace Works' 2024 Season Begins With Joe McPhee With Strings On March 16, 8 PM In Poughkeepsie, NY


Sign in to view read count
Elysium Furnace Works is thrilled and honored to kick off its 2024 season in the Hudson Valley with a rescheduled concert, presenting a legendary multi-instrumentalist in his hometown leading a truly historic ensemble in performance: Joe McPhee with Strings.
Elysium Furnace Works is BACK in 2024 with our most exciting season yet!

Uncompromising, boundary-pushing artistry is what EFW is all about and that's exactly what we have in store for you, all year long.

All concerts will take place at the lovely 19th c. VBI Theatre, part of the Hudson Valley's outstanding Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center — the theatre is located at 12 Vassar St. in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Elysium Furnace Works is thrilled and honored to kick off its 2024 season in the Hudson Valley with a rescheduled concert, presenting a legendary multi-instrumentalist in his hometown leading a truly historic ensemble in performance: Joe McPhee with Strings. For this momentous event, the lineup will include (N.B.: the lineup has changed from the original concert in 2023):

Joe McPhee: saxophones, spoken word, conducting
Michael Bisio & Hilliard Greene: basses
Daniel Levin & Aliya Ultan: cellos
James Keepnews & Billy Stein: guitars
Melanie Dyer & Mat Maneri: violas
Rosi Hertlein & Gwen Laster: violins

The history of “instrumentalists with strings" in jazz is one that goes back over a century, with early examples like bandleaders Jean Goldkette and Paul Whiteman employing strings in their groups in the 1920s, and clarinetist Artie Shaw recorded with a string quartet in 1936. Come the mid-1940s, bands with string sections included those of Harry James, Stan Kenton, Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey. But it was the immortal “Bird with Strings" sessions by Charlie Parker in 1950 and 1952 that made the use of strings a key concept in postwar jazz. Parker's sessions proved so innovative and so commanding that various major jazz artists have subsequently explored this approach to ensemble orchestration, including Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Arthur Blythe and many others. To this august list, we can now add the Poughkeepsie-based legend Joe McPhee.

Joe McPhee with Strings will perform at the VBI Theatre of Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center, located at 12 Vassar St. in Poughkeepsie, NY, on Saturday, March 16 at 8 PM. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door—advance tickets.

EFW's historic 2024 season will also include:

April 27: Fay Victor's SoundNoiseFunk (+ Morris / Newsome / Nicholson) — the superlative creative vocalist Victor convenes her acclaimed, kaleidoscopic supercollision of maverick virtuosi — guitarist Joe Morris, soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome and drummer Reggie Nicholson — to unleash music of unrelenting energy unlimited by tradition. Advance tickets.

May 18: Chourmo (Torn / Berne / Rainey) — we present a cataclysmic trio of renowned leaders — guitarist David Torn, alto saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey — certain to ignite fire, intricate abstraction and passionate forward-motion. Advance tickets.

June 22: Jamaaladeen Tacuma / James Brandon Lewis: “On Your Shoulders” — this historic congregation of the legendary harmolodic bass pioneer from Ornette Coleman's innovative electric ensemble Prime Time Tacuma with the DownBeat Magazine Rising Star on tenor saxophone Lewis is a multi-generational celebration honoring past trailblazers and offering, in Mr. Tacuma's words, “a special thank you to all the mentors and elders in music sharing their knowledge and creativity with the next generation.” Advance tickets.

September 21: Peter Evans — the fearsomely gifted trumpeter Evans astonishes with the sheer multiplicity of sounds and textures he is able to coax from his horn and the staggering inspiration that shapes his fathomless exploration in this rare Hudson Valley solo appearance. Advance tickets.

October 19: Yuko Otomo — in her first solo Hudson Valley appearance, the exceptional poet and writer Otomo brings her revelatory work steeped in humane soul and omniversal epiphany, accompanied by musicians TBA. Advance tickets.

November 16: AM / FM — this power duo of guitarist Ava Mendoza and violinist Gabby Fluke-Mogul synthesize a heady brew of avant jazz, blues and noise, radically upending experimental music(s) past, present, and future. Advance tickets.

December 7: Harriet Tubman (Ross / Gibbs / Lewis) — EFW closes out our monumental season with the fiery intensity of the long-running eclectic, electric collective Harriet Tubman, comprising the insanely talented, accomplished trio of guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer JT Lewis, rounding out 2024 on a monstrously high, heavy note. Advance tickets.

About Joe McPhee

Joe McPhee is an American jazz multi-instrumentalist born in Miami, Florida on November 3, 1939. He began playing trumpet when he was eight, before learning other instruments. He played in various high school and then military bands before starting his recording career. His first recording came in 1967, when he appeared on the Clifford Thornton album entitled Freedom and Unity. McPhee taught himself saxophone at the age of 32 after experiencing the music of John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and Ornette Coleman. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, McPhee lectured on jazz music at Vassar College.

In 1975, Werner Uehlinger started the Swiss label Hathut Records with the specific intent of showcasing McPhee's music.[2] In the 1980s, McPhee met Pauline Oliveros, began studying her musical theories, and worked with her Deep Listening Band. He has not yet signed with any major label in his native United States, and was possibly better known throughout Europe than his native country until the 1990s. His 1996 album As Serious As Your Life, which takes its title from the jazz book by Val Wilmer, is “arguably the finest of his solo recordings", according to the AllMusic review.

Jazz musicians with whom McPhee has recorded or performed include Ken Vandermark, Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson, Jeb Bishop, The Thing, Clifton Hyde, Jérôme Bourdellon, Raymond Boni, and Joe Giardullo. Beginning in 1998, McPhee, Dominic Duval, and Jay Rosen performed and recorded as Trio X. In the 1990s Dominique Eade and McPhee had a jazz ensemble called Naima.

McPhee has written reviews and commentary for Cadence magazine.

In 2005, McPhee was awarded the Resounding Vision Award by Nameless Sound. In 2018, McPhee was one of the initial two recipients (the other being pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, who performed as part of EFW's 2022 season) of the first Instant Award in Improvised Music.

About Elysium Furnace Works

Elysium Furnace Works is a cooperative project co-led by Mike Faloon and James Keepnews. EFW seeks to present the work of vanguard artists in settings as dedicated and uncompromising as the art itself, focusing primarily although not exclusively on live music performances in and around New York's vibrant Hudson Valley. Follow us on Facebook and on Instagram @elysiumfurnaceworks.

Visit Website | Purchase Tickets






Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.