Song for the Big Chief
Joe McPhee & Paal Nilssen-Love
"In the introduction to the concert McPhee made the announcement that tonight’s performance would be in honour to the memory of one the great giants of free music [Sunny Murray]. True to Murray’s spirit this didn’t meaning playing a night of cover tunes, but creating new sounds and pushing the music into the future."
Joe McPhee / Dominic Duval / Jay Rosen / Mikolaj Trzaska
"The musicians inspire and interact with one another in exceptionally intricate and subtle ways. The smallest details of the playing fill volumes of space with intelligent musical conversation, no matter whether one, two, three or all four are involved in the improvisation. The instrumental layering is so clear and unique that listening is an extraordinarily fulfilling challenge. There is bubbling and boiling, but absolutely no mayhem. -Lynn Horton, JazzTimes"
Port of Saints
Joe McPhee / Dominic Duval / Michael Bisio / Raymond Boni
"Port of Saints describes an epic journey whose main character is the saxophone. A guitar acts as the saxophone's alter ego. Two basses supply avuncular guide posts for traveling to an unknowable but certain destination. The journey is rife both with fantasy and human spirit. -Lynn Horton, All About Jazz"
Joe McPhee / Evan Parker / Daunik Lazro
Joe McPhee / Evan Parker / Daunik Lazro
"This isn't a noodle fest, but it is very subdued with little change in dynamic throughout. This is a disc for people who like to think about the saxophone or hear Joe McPhee practice with a couple of other guys. -Thom Yurek, All Music"
Joe McPhee / Jamie Saft / Joe Morris / Charles Downs
"Expanding upon the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic advances established by Coltrane and his spiritual brethren half a century ago, Ticonderoga is a bracingly vital reminder of the expressive potential of free music. -Troy Collins, All About Jazz"
Joe McPhee / Jeb Bishop / Ingebrigt Håker Flaten / Michael Zerang
"The opener begins with a mournful trombone laying out thematic concepts. McPhee joins in the mourning against Zerang's slow rumble. Then it all gives way, Bishop becoming increasingly percussive, as if trying to match the drummer's off-kilter rhythms before this in turn disintegrates and McPhee, his tone reminding me of Charles Tyler, comes storming in. And so it continues, each track revealing just why they are regarded as amongst the greatest improvisers currently performing. -Alfie Cook, Free Jazz Blog"
A Meeting In Chicago
Joe McPhee / Ken Vandermark / Kent Kessler
""Vandermark has long cited McPhee's great hat HUT record Tenor as one of his strongest inspirations, an LP that showed him ways to integrate energy, flow and lyricism into the same musical space. Conversely, McPhee was moved to hear the now-defunct Vandermark Quartet cover one of his compositions at a festival some years back. A wildly prodigious composer, bandleader and player, Vandermark fronts and works in a variety of groups, including the Vandermark 5, NRG Ensemble, Steam, Caffeine, Witches and Devils, DK3, the Crown Royals, Baxter and the Sun Ra Project. Kessler and Vandermark have established a near-sibling working relationship -- the bassist figures in virtually all of Vandermark's ensembles and the two join forces with drum dynamo Hamid Drake in the egalitarian DKV Trio. Based in Poughkeepsie, New York, Joe McPhee is one of the most sensitive, authoritative, personal musical forces on the planet, whether he's playing puckered pocket-trumpet or pugilistic tenor sax. More than mere document of a first encounter, A Meeting in Chicago is destined to be a free music classic.""
Sweet Freedom - Now What?
Joe McPhee / Lisle Ellis / Paul Plimley
"In 1994, Joe McPhee entered a studio in Zurich, Switzerland and recorded this thoughtful yet chance-taking response to Max Roach's ambitious Freedom Now Suite of 1960 ... McPhee doesn't treat Roach's compositions like museum pieces; instead, he embraces them on his own terms and brings many of his own ideas to the table ... the element of surprise is exactly what McPhee is going for on this rewarding, AACM-influenced inside/outside date. -Alex Henderson, All Music"
Joe McPhee / Matthew Shipp / Dominic Duval
"With its beautiful sound, In Finland captures three master improvisers live and spinnin' takes. Longtime fans of Matthew Shipp who miss his prolonged flights into thundering, gothic creations: this is your fix. With two tracks hovering around the thirty-minute mark, the performances allow Shipp room to stretch and flex. Joe McPhee sticks mainly to a rich-toned soprano sax, although he plays some playful pocket trumpet. A veteran of Mark Whitecage's ensembles as well as a frequent collaborator of McPhee's, bassist Dominic Duval plays rough, his hands exploding with fat, rapid-fire plucking or smeared arco. -Rex Butters, All About Jazz"