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...

3

Joe McPhee: Sonic Elements

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Ernest Hemingway might have said it best: "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." For musician Joe McPhee, delivering that one true sentence has been his motivation since the 1960s.

An in-demand improviser, he can be heard in multiple settings including the bands of Peter Brötzmann and Ken Vandermark, as a guest of the Deep Listening Band, Trespass Trio and Decoy, and with the rock band, Cato Salsa Experience. He maintains his longstanding association with Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen in Trio X, and can also be heard in an Albert Ayler tribute band. His duo recordings find him with the likes of Evan Parker, Joe Giardullo, Daunik Lazro and Michael Bisio but is, perhaps, best heard with drummers Paal Nilssen-Love and Hamid Drake.

The question may be whether he wrote that "one true sentence" in a Swiss farmhouse in 1976. The out-of-print solo recording, Tenor (Hat Hut, 1977), and its subsequent reissue, Tenor & Fallen Angels (Hatology, 2000), is a stunning session that has been referenced by many a musician (and journalist) as a life-changing listening experience.

McPhee has since recorded a half dozen solo sessions, including this live date (although the audience is never heard) from the 2012 Slovenian Ljubljana Jazz Festival. Setting his tenor saxophone aside, he plays two lengthy pieces: first, a tribute to Don Cherry on a pocket trumpet; then an alto saxophone salute to Ornette Coleman. Neither piece is imitative, nor are they peppered with covers of the two great men. McPhee choses, instead, to delve into the meditative and sonic outposts of the two chosen instruments.

"Episode One (for Don Cherry)" begins beyond the trumpet, in silence. Then comes the breathy blown non-note, a combination of vocalizations and air. McPhee invents his horn, or maybe reinvents music here. From the purity of first sounds comes tentative notes, trills and splats. He whispers and summons a tale of memory here. Same for his take on Coleman and "Episode Two." A bit of a saxophone workout, McPhee exercises a trip around honking corners before dropping some blues: a sort-of melancholy hymn. The performance is more a storytelling then musical experience; maybe McPhee's one true sentence.

Track Listing: Episode One (for Don Cherry): Wind, Water; Episode Two (for Ornette Coleman): Earth/Fire, Old Eyes.

Personnel: Joe McPhee: pocket trumpet, alto saxophone.

Title: Sonic Elements | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
From Outer Space

From Outer Space

Roaratorio Records
2018

buy
Flowers

Flowers

Cipsela Records
2016

buy
Ticonderoga

Ticonderoga

Clean Feed Records
2015

buy
Solos : The Lost Tapes (1980 – 1981 – 1984)

Solos : The Lost...

Roaratorio Records
2015

buy
 

The CjR Years...

Kedar Entertainment Group
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Prophecy Of Nue" CD/LP/Track Review Prophecy Of Nue
by John Sharpe
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "Town And Country" CD/LP/Track Review Town And Country
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Under The Surface" CD/LP/Track Review Under The Surface
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "The Show Before The Show" CD/LP/Track Review The Show Before The Show
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "The Best of Bossacucanova" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Bossacucanova
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 6, 2017
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 24, 2017