5

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

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Joe McPhee / Jamie Saft / Joe Morris / Charles Downs: Ticonderoga
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 homage. Although McPhee's breathy tenor saxophone brings Coltrane to mind at the outset of pieces like "Beyond Days" and "Simplicity of Man," he quickly broadens his reference points. Heavier on the fire than the honey, his overblown freeform tenor saxophone work proves particularly incendiary evoking Albert Ayler's lineage. On soprano he is sweeter and more circuitous, especially at the start of "Leaves of Certain," where his ruminations diverge into a brief vocalized cry, before the ensuing rollercoaster ride.

Saft concentrates solely on piano, focusing on texture more than narrative with streams of cascading notes which chime with his affection for the playing of Alice Coltrane. He also works the strings and the innards of his instrument, sometimes simultaneously with the keyboard. Morris generates a blizzard of notes to enable multidimensional movement, yet also saws insistently to impart drive and raise the stakes even further.

But it is drummer Charles Downs who wields the most influence over the character of the session with his irrepressible fast paced chatter. In fact Downs continues well after everyone finishes on three of the four cuts, as if he still hasn't been able to say everything he wished. It makes a noticeable impact in terms of intensity and transparency when he does adopt a different tack, as in the middle section of the ballad-like "A Backward King" which thereby takes on a jazzy feel, before inevitably increasing in density and speed.

Track Listing

Beyond Days; Simplicity of Man; Leaves of Certain; A Backward King.

Personnel

Joe McPhee: tenor and soprano saxophones; Jamie Saft: piano; Joe Morris: bass; Charles Downs: drums.

Album information

Title: Ticonderoga | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Read People Flow
People Flow
Erik Verwey
Read Kites and Strings
Kites and Strings
Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project
Read Borrowed From Children
Borrowed From Children
Paul Flaherty / Mike Roberson / Randall Colbourne / James Chumley Hunt

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.