Tag Archives: Joe McPhee

Jazzword review by Ken Waxman

CF 278Joe McPhee – Sonic Elements (CF 278)
While solo sessions have multiplied over the past few years, one person who was experimenting with the singular form as long ago as 1976 is multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee. Sonic Elements Clean Feed CF 278 CD is his most recent set in that genre. Demonstrating the breath of his skill, he divides this 41-minute live set in half, improvising on pocket trumpet in honor of Don Cherry at the beginning, and concluding with a salute to Ornette Coleman on alto saxophone. That said McPhee doesn’t replicate any Coleman or Cherry licks during the performance. Instead he creates distinctive sound picture of each individual. With “Wind-Water” McPhee’s Cherry snapshot is built up from plain air pops, watery growls and spiraling grace notes. When the output swerves into tonality a mellow melody appears only to be deconstructed with staccato guffaws, sharp whistles and vocal murmurs. An extended final sequence is balanced with vocal cries and whispers that help illuminate the dedicatee’s heartfelt struggle for peace. Meanwhile, if anything “Earth/Fire-Old Eyes” proves that Coleman’s purported wild experimentation is based on the bedrock of jazz: blues and work songs. Using maximum emotionalism and minimal notes here, the saxophonist’s initial tongue slaps and altissimo cries give way to a sequence which includes foot-stomping percussiveness and a theme that could practically be a pre-Emancipation song of celebration. As the countrified line is hardened, tremolo echoes, reminiscent of primitive bagpipe or concertina airs confirm this connection. The climax occurs as sharp, staccato interjections and the composition’s sweet, yearning textures become one and the same.

Tomajazz reviews by Pachi Tapiz

Clean Feed: en trío y en cuarteto
Tríos y cuartetos forman la oferta del sello portugués Clean Feed en su segunda entrega del año 2013. Propuestas mayoritariamente libre improvisadas en las que se muestran las múltiples caras, los múltiples enfoques que ofrece la creación instantánea.

CF 276El baterista Harris Eisenstadt publica The Destructive Element (CF 276) con su formación September Trio. El saxofonista Ellery Eskelin y la pianista Angelica Sanchez son sus acompañantes nuevamente. Eisenstadt, que durante los últimos años está mostrando ser un gran compositor, es el autor de los nueve temas. Estos resultan muy variados en su suavidad (“Swimming, then Rained Out”), su carácter melancólico (el precioso “Cascadia”), su oscuridad (“Ordinary Weirdness”), su crispación (“Here Are the Samurai”) o su aproximación a la clásica contemporánea (“From Schoenberg”). Ellery Eskelin, y sobre todo Angelica Sanchez son unos magníficos compañeros de viaje.

CF 272El trío formado por la francesa Sophie Agnel (piano), y los británicos John Edwards (contrabajo) y Steve Noble (batería) realiza una interesantísima inmersión en la libre improvisación en Meteo (CF 272). El disco, grabado en el festival del mismo nombre en Mulhouse (Francia), en agosto de 2012, incluye una única pieza de 38 minutos. Una decisión de edición, ya que igualmente podría haber sido troceada en múltiples temas. En las distintas partes los tres músicos muestran una capacidad de diálogo y de invención sencillamente asombrosas. Su música pasa por fases ambientales, abstractas, libres, intensas y suaves. También por el silencio, del que el trío renace mostrando nuevas caras de su capacidad para interactuar. Semejante discurso está al alcance de muy pocos.

CF 277City Of Asylum (CF 277) aparece editado a nombre del contrabajista Eric Revis (Branford Marsalis, Tabarby), aunque igualmente podría haberlo sido a nombre del trío Revis – (Kris) Davis – (Andrew) Cyrille. Salvo un tema de Revis (“Question), uno de Jarrett (“Prayer”) y el monkiano “Gallop’s Gallop”, los seis restantes son unas improvisaciones del trío que por momentos parecen composiciones salidas del papel pautado. Andrew Cyrille es toda una institución en la batería, algo de lo que deja muestras más que evidentes. Kris Davis, una de las mejores pianistas de la actualidad, brilla de principio a fin. Eric Revis es el titular de la grabación, pero únicamente de un modo nominal ya que el peso de la grabación se reparte equilibradamente entre los tres músicos, creando una obra con una coherencia musical sobresaliente.

CF 271Mirage (CF 271) es una grabación de improvisaciones en trío de Ellery Eskelin (saxo), Michael Formanek (contrabajo) y Susan Alcorn (pedal Steel gitar, instrumento habitual en la música country). En los temas más breves el disco transcurre mayoritariamente tranquilo y a medio tiempo, buscando y encontrando melodías. Esa contención (no tanto en la música sino en la duración) se rompe con el extenso “Downburst” (27 minutos), en el que el grupo no es capaz de mostrar mucho más de lo que logra en cada uno de los temas del resto del disco con duraciones de entre tres y cinco minutos.

CF 267Birthmark (CF 267) de la saxofonista danesa Lotte Anker y la fantástica pareja de músicos portugueses formada por Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano) y Hernani Faustino (contrabajo) es un toma y daca de gran intensidad, una sucesión musical llena de tensiones improvisadas, silencios y melodías crispadas muy bien resueltas. Por medio de estos músicos, y otros como el saxofonista Rodrigo Amado, el baterista Gabriel Ferrandini o la trompetista Susana Santos Silva la escena de la improvisación portuguesa demuestra una vitalidad envidiable.

CF 275Precisamente Susana Santos Silva es un tercio de LAMA, que completan Gonçalo Almeida (contrabajo) y Greg Smith (batería). Para Lamaçal (CF 275), su segunda grabación, registrada en directo en el portugués Portalegre Jazz Festival, contaron con la colaboración del saxofonista Chris Speed. Gonçalo Almeida es el autor de cuatro composiciones, mientras que Santos Silva, Almeida y Speed aportan una cada uno. “Anemona”, “Cachalote” o “Moby Dick” (nada que ver con la exhibición de John Bonham de los Led Zeppelin) son algunos de los momentos más logrados. En todos sus temas es tan importante la improvisación como la estructura sobre la que esta se desarrolla, la utilización ortodoxa de los instrumentos como la capacidad de explorar sus posibilidades sonoras.

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOCon Made To Break el saxofonista Ken Vandermark retoma y aúna las sendas abiertas con Spaceways Inc. (que posteriormente desarrolló con Powerhouse Sound) y FME (Free Music Ensemble). Su objetivo en este proyecto es improvisar a partir de unas composiciones modulares en las que los músicos tienen la posibilidad de elegir diferentes elementos. En su desarrollo se incluyen pasajes con un groove muy potente y contagioso con base funk, improvisaciones free en las que no se pierde de vista la melodía, y momentos más contemplativos. En este proyecto le acompañan el baterista Tim Daisy (compañero de Vandermark en mil aventuras musicales), el bajista Devin Hoff y el samplerista Christof Kurzmann.De los tres temas que componen Provoke (CF 273), grabado en directo en Lisboa, el que mejor muestra y engarza esa multitud de influencias es el dedicado a John Cage titulado “Further”. En los otros dos temas también se alternan pasajes contrastados, aunque muestran una menor variedad.

CF 269Desde el inicio de su trayectoria Clean Feed ha estado ligado al festival de Coimbra Jazz Ao Centro, al que ha dedicado la serie JACC dentro de su catálogo. Joe McPhee se une al Trespass Trio en Human Encore (CF 269), grabación registrada a lo largo de tres días en la ciudad portuguesa. En este CD se alternan las composiciones del saxofonista Martin Küchen con las improvisaciones del cuarteto. Esto motiva una variedad más que disfrutable que van del homenaje en formato free al be-bop (“A different Koko”), los aromas folklóricos de “In Our Midst” o “Bruder Beda ist nicht mehr”, el free-bop a tiempo medio (“A deserto n fire, a forest”) o el free propulsivo (“Coimbra, Mon Amour”).

Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: Destructive Element ****
Sophie Agnel, John Edwards, Steve Noble: Meteo *****
Eric Revis: City Of Asylum ****
Mirage: Mirage ***
Lotte Anker, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernani Faustino: Birthmark ****
LAMA + Chris Speed: Lamaçal ****
Made To Break: Provoke ****
Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee: Human Encore ****

Best of 2013 Jazz.PT

Melhores de 2013 – Jazz.PT
Aqui estão as escolhas da equipa jazz.pt relativas a mais um ano de música, em disco e ao vivo. São estas as nossas votações finais, bem como as listas individuais dos colaboradores que participaram nesta selecção do melhor que foi acontecendo em 12 meses repletos de bom jazz e boa improvisação. Boas festas e continuem a passar por estas páginas.

Melhores discos internacionais
CF 283WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET: “WITHOUT A NET” (BLUE NOTE)
Charles Lloyd / Jason Moran: “Hagar´s Song” (ECM)
São Paulo Undergound: “Beija Flors Velho e Sujo” (Cuneiform)
Matana Roberts: “Coin Coin: Chapter Two: Missisippi Moonchile” (Constellation)
Pascal Niggenkemper Vision7: “Lucky Prime” (Clean Feed)
Wadada Leo Smith & TUMO: “Occupy the World” (TUM)
CF 278Joe McPhee: “Sonic Elements” (Clean Feed)
Tim Berne’s Snakeoil: “Shadow Man” (ECM)
Nate Wooley: “Seven Storey Mountain III and IV” (Text)
Trespass Trio & Joe McPhee: “Human Encore” (Clean Feed)
Lotte Anker / Rodrigo Pinheiro / Hernâni Faustino: “Birthmark” (Clean Feed)

Melhores discos nacionais
CF 281RED TRIO: “REBENTO” (NOBUSINESS)
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Jeb Bishop: “The Flame Alphabet” (Not Two)
Susana Santos Silva / Torbjörn Zetterberg: “Almost Tomorrow” (Clean Feed)
Luís Lopes Humanization 4tet: “Live in Madison” (Ayler Records)
CF 275Lama & Chris Speed: “Lamaçal” (Clean Feed)
Timespine: “Timespine” (Shhpuma)
Big Bold Back Bone: “Clouds Clues” (Wide Ear)
Joana Sá: “Elogio da Desordem” (Shhpuma)
João Hasselberg: “Whatever It Is You’re Seeking, Won’t Come in the Form You’re Expecting” (Sintoma Records)
Nelson Cascais Decateto: “A Evolução da Forma” (Sintoma Records)
João Firmino: “A Casa da Árvore” (Sintoma Records)
Ernesto Rodrigues / Ricardo Guerreiro / Christian Wolfarth: “All About Mimi” (Creative Sources)
João Paulo Esteves da Silva & Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos: “Bela Senão Sem” (TOAP/OJM)
SHH 007Eduardo Raon: “On the Drive for Impulsive Actions” (Shhpuma)
Eitr: “Trees Have Cancer Too” (Mazagran)
Joana Sá / Luís José Martins: “Almost a Song” (Shhpuma)
Le Syndicat & Sektor 304: “Geometry of Chromium Skin” (Rotorelief)
Luís Vicente / Jari Marjamaki: “Alternate Translations” (MiMi Records)

Melhores reedições
KEITH JARRETT: “CONCERTS: BREGENZ/MUNCHEN” (ECM)

Melhores concertos
EVAN PARKER (JAZZ AO CENTRO – ENCONTROS INTERNACIONAIS DE JAZZ DE COIMBRA)
Peter Evans Octet (Jazz em Agosto)
The Thing XXL (Jazz em Agosto)
John Zorn Electric Masada (Jazz em Agosto)
Anthony Braxton Falling River Music Quartet (Jazz em Agosto)
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Peter Evans (Teatro Maria Matos)
Zanussi 5 (Jazz ao Centro – Encontros Internacionais de Jazz de Coimbra)
Hugo Antunes / Carlos “Zíngaro” / Miguel Mira (Espaço APAV & Cultura)
Elephant9 feat. Reine Fiske (Jazz em Agosto)

Melhores músicos ou grupos internacionais
Jason Moran, Okkyung Lee, John Zorn, Fire! Orchestra/Mats Gustafsson, Barry Guy New Orchestra, Burkhard Stangl, Wadada Leo Smith.

Melhores músicos ou grupos nacionais
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio, Sei Miguel, Gabriel Ferrandini, Susana Santos Silva, Hugo Antunes, Clocks and Clouds, Rodrigo Pinheiro.

Acontecimento do ano
A polémica entrevista concedida por Rui Neves, programador do Jazz em Agosto, à Rua de Baixo, conduzida por Pedro Tavares, também colaborador da jazz.pt.

http://jazz.pt/artigos/2013/12/15/melhores-de-2013/

Le Son du Grisli review by Guillaume Belhomme

CF 269Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee – Human Encore (CF 269)
A Coimbra (trois soirs de concerts) en compagnie de Joe McPhee, le Trespass Trio de Martin Küchen (qui signe cinq des huit titres de ce disque), pas contrariant, pas regardant, pas rancunier, en redemandait : Human Encore…

L’œil était dans l’obus, et regardait McPhee (qui, lui, soufflait en trompette piccolo). L’ouverture est en conséquence prudente : A Desert On Fire, A Forest tenant du morceau d’atmosphère porté par une contrebasse mesurée (Per Zanussi) que Küchen tiendra malgré tout à agiter. La suite convolera en motifs souterrains (Bruder Beda Ist Nicht Mehr, Xe) avec un art de l’à-propos rentré : le jazz du quartette d’exception jouant de délicatesses et d’inventions malignes.

Jazz encore : ce sont-là les improvisations, que découpent les rapides baguettes de Raymond Strid. Trompette et saxophone s’y mêlent sur un air de free terrible ou l’allure d’un swing dont les pulsations varient d’un instrument à l’autre. En conclusion, alors, cet Human Encore attendu : l’archet grave de contrebasse, le baryton et la trompette enlacés, sur un de ces hymnes prégnants dont Joe McPhee a le secret. Imparable. Indispensable.
http://grisli.canalblog.com/archives/2014/01/01/28601984.html

All About Jazz review by Florence Wetzel

CF 269Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee: Human Encore (CF 269)
Portugal is one of the most free-jazz friendly countries on the planet, and the innovative Clean Feed label is one of the reasons why. With over two hundred releases thus far, Clean Feed has been documenting the next wave(s) of avant-free music. This includes the mighty Trespass Trio, a powerhouse group of improvisers consisting of Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen, Norwegian double bassist Per Zanussi, and Swedish drummer Raymond Strid. Clean Feed released Trespass Trio’s debut Was There to Illuminate the Night Sky (2009), their follow-up Bruder Beda (2012), and now the stellar Human Encore. The album features the trio with the eminent American saxophonist Joe McPhee, and offers highlights from the group’s residency at the 2012 Jazz ao Centro festival in Coimbra, Portugal.

All eight tunes are flat-out gorgeous, particularly the opening track, “A Desert on Fire, a Forest.” According to Küchen’s liner notes, the title refers to the horrific wars of the 1940s in both Europe and Palestine: “Those ‘fires’ have not been extinguished, on the contrary, there are more and more of them…do u feel the heat?” If not, this gut-wrenching tune will ensure that you do: McPhee’s tenor and Küchen’s baritone start off with mournful, pensive dirges that are profoundly disquieting and heartbreakingly lovely. The horns repeatedly intertwine and split off, coming back a little wilder each time. Zanussi’s bass is gentle and precise, and Strid’s skipping, rolling drumwork sounds like water on the verge of boiling. The song fades into plaintive spaciousness, and in one of those fortuitous moments of live music, a car alarm goes off and provides the perfect ending. It’s a marvelous tune, full of haunting sorrow and somber beauty.

There’s also the stunning “Xe,” which features McPhee on pocket trumpet and Küchen on bass. The tune starts off with a gorgeous bass and drum duet by Zanussi and Strid, full of shimmering spaces and colors. Zanussi really shines on this song, his sonorous plucking revealing just how much one note can say. Another gem is “Bruder Beda Ist Nicht Nehr” (Brother Bede Is No More). Bruder Beda was a relative of Küchen, a Jewish German who became a Catholic monk and was killed in Auschwitz. The tune is thirteen minutes strong, starting with a whistling, squiggling solo from McPhee on pocket trumpet, which includes more live-music serendipity in the form of a barking dog. Küchen contributes a relentless vibrating line, which incites McPhee to blast out louder and stronger. Strid creates a quicksand of rhythm that perfectly supports the others, and Zanussi’s bass is deeply buoyant, propelling the group with a fast-forward motion. As the song escalates, McPhee switches to tenor for an on-fire solo that incites vocalizations from Küchen, creating a wild and soulful explosion of deepest passion and humanity.

Human Encore is full of fiery brilliance, which is not surprising given the strength of the players involved. It’s also further proof of Clean Feed’s fine work, as well as the veritable explosion of music emanating from Portugal.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=45935#.Upy5X9JSiSo

Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

CF 269Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee – Human Encore (CF 269)
****
In the past years Swedish saxophonist and bandleader Martin Küchen has made quite a name for himself, with the much acclaimed band “Angles”, with his solo performances, with his more funky expansive “Exploding Customer”, with “Looper”, with “Chip Shop Music”, with “All Included”, and probably some more, but equally with the great “Trespass Trio”, a real trio with Per Zanussi on bass and Raymond Strid on drums. I write a “real trio”, because even if the compositions are mainly Küchen’s – and familiar from other albums – all three musicians contribute equally to the sound and where the music goes.

Now the band expands with nobody less than Joe McPhee, whose phenomenal powerful and tender tenor sax sound fits perfectly well with the overall sound of the trio, but his musical vision strongly matches it too. Sorry, McPhee of course also doubles on pocket trumpet – his first instrument actually before he learned to play sax – and this sound is as welcome as the tenor in the trio’s open embrace.

Like with Trio X, McPhee is comfortable with slow, bluesy music that freely improvises around set themes, as is the case here. McPhee himself adds three compositions himself to this live performance, and it is obvious that the trio delivers their best efforts in the presence of their honored guest.

Küchen’s repertoire becomes familiar, here with “Bruder Beda Ist Nicht Mehr” and “In Our Midst”, two grand compositions, yet we get new material too, with “Xe” and “A Desert On Fire, A Forest”, again inspired by the intolerance of nations (tribes?) fighting each other, with the latter referring to Palestine in 1948.

And the music? It is heartfelt, passionate, with four musicians giving their very best, getting the audience clearly on the edge of their chairs, or at least with ears wide open if there were no chairs on this memorable date in Salão, Brazil in June 2012, the music is warm, welcoming and especially fierce and more uptempo in the middle part of the album, when McPhee’s pieces are being played, but also then, the sound matches well, the emotions flare up in the heat and intensity of the playing, offering Zanussi also his solo moment and Strid the chance to energise this great quartet.

Fans of Trio X will love this album, as much as fans of Trespass trio, confirming again that great musicians can find each other blindly, as long as they share the same musical vision, which is clearly the case here.
http://www.freejazzblog.org/

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JazzMag review by Philippe Carles

McPhee_JazzMag