Thursday, 9 April, 2009

Joe McPhee Po Music - Topology (1989)

"A pivotal record in my development as a listener, this 1981 recording ended an obsessive fixation solely with free jazz by opening my ears to the possibilities of non-idiomatic improvisation, composition and electroacoustics. There was of course still enough visceral blowing on the disc to satisfy on that level, though I now began to appreciate how graphic notation can bring coherent form to improvisation. A strikingly variegated palette of sounds and emotions are employed by a judiciously assembled cast of multinational improvisors including Irène Schweizer, Radu Malfatti, Pierre Favre and André Jaume. Many startling juxtapositions stand out - McPhee's graceful themes floating above Raymond Boni's industrial-strength guitar, screaming post-Ayler overtones underpinned by delicately bowed strings and an overall mood of contemplative introspection continually stalked by terrifyingly abrasive collective improvisation. It sounds as bold and fresh today as I imagine it always will." ~by Fred Grand
Jon McPhee was born on 3 November 1939, Miami, Florida, USA. This multi-instrumentalist/composer has established himself as one of the leading creative improvisers in avant garde jazz. McPhee played the trumpet in his school band and studied music theory and harmony in his Division Band while he was with the army in Germany (1964-65). His first recording was with fellow trumpeter Clifford Thornton on 1967's Freedom And Unity. While he was playing with the Matt Jordan Orchestra in the late 60s, he took up the saxophone as he became interested in free jazz. McPhee's first solo recordings were released on the CJR label, which he founded in 1969 with painter Craig Johnson. He gave a lecture course entitled "The Revolution In Sound" when he taught at Vassar College (1969-71), following which he struck up a fruitful association with the Swiss label, hatHUT, founded by Werner Uehlinger specifically to release McPhee's music. McPhee has sought to extend the tonal range of the saxophone, introducing grainy effects into his playing and extending his phrasing by using circular breathing.

The freedom he seeks is often clearly tied to melody, and on his early recordings was informed by the revolutionary struggles in his homeland during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though his first recording on saxophone was with Shakey Jake (vocal/harmonica) in 1972, he soon moved to New York to work with trumpeter Don Cherry, Thornton and the Jazz Composers Orchestra. In the mid-70s he worked in Europe with Steve Lacy, among others, while remaining relatively unknown in his native America. McPhee's restless adventurism saw him adopting the clarinet, valve trombone, piano and pocket trumpet, and by the turn of the 80s he had begun to experiment with extended instrumental and electronic techniques. Influenced by Dr Edward de Bono's book Lateral Thinking: A Textbook Of Creativity, McPhee invented the concept of "Po Music" which he describes as "a process of provocation which can be used to move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones". McPhee has recorded prolifically for several European and Canadian labels, including Sackville, CELP, Van d'Oeuvre, In Situ, Victo, Mode, Deep Listening, CIMP, OkkaDisk and Evidence. Frequent collaborators include bass players Kent Kessler, Dominic Duval and Michael Bisio, reed players Ken Vandermark and Peter Brötzmann, drummers Jay Rosen and John McLellan. In the late 90s, McPhee, Rosen and Duval formed the acclaimed Trio X. ~ in

Joe McPhee (pocket cornet, tenor saxophone)
Tamia (vocals)
Daniel Bourquin (alto & baritone saxophones)
André Jaume (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet)
Radu Malfatti (trombone, electronics, percussion)
Michael Overhage (cello)
Irène Schweizer (piano)
Raymond Boni (guitar)
François Mechali (bass)
Pierre Favre (percussion)

1. Age (10'43'')
2. Blues for new Chicago (05'32'')
3. Pithecantropus Erectus (10'30'')
4. Violets for Pia (07'38'')
5. Topology I&II (28'40'')

click on the cd back_cover pict for a detailed list of the participant musicians on this recording.

+ info on Joe McPhee HERE
Originally released on LP by HatArt in 1981



Anonymous said...

gracias, bravojuju!

this hasn't been re-issued in the hatology series yet, of whom i bought "oleo" (1982, re-issue 2004), also po music, feat. jaume, mechali + boni.

since mcphee was the one for whom uehlinger started his label, more of his releases might hopefully popping up for reissue.

matthew said...

i have no clue how this has anything to do with the study of open sets, but i want this!

gerireig said...

Thank you for this. I don't think that I ever had the original. What a lineup!!!

Godard said...

This is special juju, many thanks for the opportunity to hear it again!

Anonymous said...

this is a very beautiful experience. thank u for sharing it-

Anonymous said...

Bravo! bravo! bravojuju

Anonymous said...

Bravo! bravo! bravojuju

JL.TAGLICH said...

Fabulous project. I have seen Joe McPhee play only once.

contactos en barcelona said...

Quite worthwhile material, thanks for your post.

Chris Monsen said...

Late to this, but thanks a million for the upload. Been looking for this a while.