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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe McPhee: Flowers

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For the longest time it was a commonly held belief that solo saxophone performances, especially freely improvised solo saxophone performances, were an acquired taste. Meaning they are things that one has come to like only through experience, but mostly it is a polite way to say you find the music distasteful. Certainly, much of improvised music can be spoken of in this manner, but when an artist performs with the sincerity and genuineness that saxophonist Joe McPhee does every night, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe McPhee / Jamie Saft / Joe Morris / Charles Downs: Ticonderoga

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As the liners explain, this date was inspired by bassist Joe Morris and pianist Jamie Saft's shared love for the seminal John Coltrane Live At The Village Vanguard Again (Impulse, 1966) album. In the subsequent discussion with the other participants, it transpired that reedman Joe McPhee actually witnessed that gig from the center of the front row. The outcome is a sequence of collective inventions very much in the same barnstorming spirit.But the result is not an explicit ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe McPhee / Jamie Saft / Joe Morris / Charles Downs: Ticonderoga

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The premise for this get together commenced with discussions by pianist Jamie Saft and bassist, guitarist Joe Morris who plotted to meld their influences from John Coltrane's Live at the Village Vanguard Again (Impulse, 1966) album, along with celebrated artists, trumpeter, reedman Joe McPhee and drummer Charles Downs. Moreover, the band moniker Ticonderoga is a Mohawk Indian word that translates into “junction of two waterways," signifying the transition from the artists' collective impressions and groupthink of the Coltrane set with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Konstrukt & Joe McPhee: If You Have Time

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There was a time when free jazz was a mysteriously strange and exotic beast, a music that evoked the “what did I just hear?" response. Today's jazz snob may quote the motto of the rock band Jane's Addiction and tell you “nothing's shocking." And that may be true. That is, if one's ears are not open to the energy and intelligence of musicians like Joe McPhee and the Turkish improvising ensemble Konstrukt. Konstrukt has performed and recorded multiple ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe McPhee / Jamie Saft / Joe Morris / Charles Downs: Ticonderoga

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Ticonderoga was inspired by a conversation between Joe Morris and Jamie Saft regarding their mutual admiration for John Coltrane's Live at the Village Vanguard Again (Impulse!, 1966). Paying homage to the historic date, the pair invited free jazz veterans Joe McPhee and Charles Downs to convene for an informal recording session at Saft's studio in the Catskill Mountains, located just down the river from Ticonderoga, a Mohawk word meaning “the junction of two waterways."Lending credence to the album's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brotzmann/Joe McPhee/Kent Kessler/Michael Zerang: Tales Out Of Time

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It is rare, in this new century, for us to look back at the significant recordings of living artists. The powers that be seem to always be pushing out new product to support a tour and get media attention. Then of course, once the artist has passed on, let the reissue series begin. Thank God for labels like Hatology and their commitment to keeping the music alive. This recording by Peter Brötzmann and Joe McPhee with bassist Kent ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Universal Indians with Joe McPhee: Skullduggery

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Throughout his career multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee has always appeared remarkably open to collaborations with musicians from different scenes. Sometimes these blossom into more established groupings such as his regular hook ups with the Scandinavian power trio The Thing and more recently with the English improv outfit Decoy (witness Oto (Bo'Weavil, 2010) and Spontaneous Combustion (OtoRoku, 2014)). To this roster can be added Universal Indians: an Amsterdam-based collective comprising American saxophonist John Dikeman and the Norwegian rhythm pairing of bassist Jon ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe McPhee: Solos : The Lost Tapes (1980 – 1981 – 1984)

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The young cats (players thirty years his junior) know Joe. Players who have immersed themselves in free improvisation, like Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson, Peter Evans, Martin Kuchen, and Mikołaj Trzaska, learned the possibilities of creating a new music from, not thin air, but from listening. They model their approach after Joe McPhee. Born in 1939, he has been a musician's musician since his experiments in solo performance in the 1970s. For years, copies of his infamous Tenor (Hat ...


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