Joe McPhee - Seattle Symphony
I'm just gonna go ahead and say that I went into this record as a big fan of Joe Mcphee, but also a little bit blind. At first, I didn't know that this was a solo record until I actually put the needle in the grooves. I'm not very accustomed to Mr. McPhee's solo works, in fact I really don't gravitate to any real solo albums by any jazz musician. So that aside, we have this newly released LP from this legendary musician, which is somewhat a tribute album to two late jazz musicians; Bill Dixon and Fred Anderson. I'm not exact on how the performances honor these artists specifically, and the music itself is equally esoteric. The album opens with Joe McPhee burbling and farting air into his horn, in an intentionally loose and clumsy delivery that sounds like if I myself, just went up and started blowing (FYI: I don't know how to play brass instruments). Joe McPhee's talent is without argument, he's a phenomenal musician so this is obviously intentional. The incredibly fragile and tense notes that come from his instruments are definitely attention grabbing but in a way that makes you wonder where it will go. It's a pretty heady listening experience, certainly interesting. There is a ton of dissonant, layered textures and tones, some of it even sounds like electronic notes. They're twisted and grating. Sharp hits of goose-squaking notes blare out towards the middle and at one point you can actually hear him sort of yell into his instrument. It's powerful stuff, but definitely a mood album. Only for the heads and super fans alike. (VII)
Check out a track here.