166

Joe McPhee Po Music: Oleo

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Joe McPhee Po Music: Oleo Since his return to active recording and performing in the mid '90s, Joe McPhee's music has always been influenced by the palpable joy he takes from exploring the color and texture of sound. That's why it's startling to hear him tear into the familiar Sonny Rollins-penned title track so conventionally. And why it's even more startling, after you've been lulled into a comfortable post bop state for a few seconds, to hear guitarist Raymond Boni drench weird electronic effects all over the melody as if hurled from a bucket.

Oleo was recorded in 1982, and at the time McPhee was dabbling in the theory of "lateral thinking" put forth by Dr. Edward De Bono and built on "PO" as a word prefix that provokes thought and leads to the discovery of new ideas: positive, possible, poetry. McPhee then applied this notion to his creative improvisations, hence Po Music. What this has to do with what you hear on Oleo 's first half I'm not sure. Without a drummer, the rhythmic load falls on bassist Francois Mechali, who performs admirably throughout and especially on "Future Retrospective," where his wonderfully upfront tone dominates this slab of sound in a locked-in groove reminiscent of Miles' "Agharta." Reedist Andre Jaume offers tongue slaps and pops on bass clarinet and Boni sends out repeatedly echoed effects as if he were bouncing sound off the walls of a cave.

That piece is bracketed by the beautiful "Pablo" (dedicated to Picasso, Casals and Neruda), on which McPhee blows tenor with an Albert Ayler-esque vibrational tone and profound emotionalism, and "Astral Spirits" (explicitly Ayler-esque in its dedication), a funereal dirge that veers from mournful spirituality to ecstatic overblowing. Nothing abstract or theoretical in these performances, nor in the sweet, straight-ahead rendering of "I Remember Clifford."

This reissue pairs the original recording with a previously unreleased concert featuring McPhee, Jaume and Boni that probably gives a better indication of the ethereal, elusive precepts behind Po Music. Taken as a whole, these two sides of McPhee demonstrate that depth of feeling and intellectualism are not mutually exclusive in making music.


Track Listing: 1. Oleo (take 1) 2. Pablo 3. Future Retrospective 4. Astral Spirits 5. Oleo (take 2) 6. I Remember Clifford 7. Ann Kahl

Personnel: Joe McPhee, Raymond Boni, Andre Jaume, Francois Mechali.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Hatology | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Some Morning" CD/LP/Track Review Some Morning
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Deeper Journey" CD/LP/Track Review Deeper Journey
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Stick Men + David Cross: Midori" CD/LP/Track Review Stick Men + David Cross: Midori
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 3, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!