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“It's been nearly five decades since Joe McPhee assembled a group of musicians to perform the weekend concerts that would become Nation Time, his second LP. It was December 1970, thirty-one-year-old McPhee was inspired by Amiri Baraka's poem 'It's Nation Time,' and the students at Vassar College didn't know what hit them. 'What time is it?' shouted McPhee. 'Come on, you can do better than that. What time is it?!!' The music on Nation Time came out of a fertile, but little-known creative jazz scene in Poughkeepsie, New York, McPhee's home base. Two bands were deployed, one with a funky free foundation featuring guitar and organ, the other consisting of a more standard jazz formation, with two drummers and the brilliant Mike Kull at the piano. Across the concert and the next afternoon's audience-less recording session, the band was ignited by McPhee's passion and his gorgeous post-Coltrane / post-Pharoah tenor. On 'Shakey Jake,' they hit a James Brown groove filtered through Archie Shepp, while the sidelong title track is as searching and poignant today as it was during its heyday. Originally released in 1971 on CjR, an imprint started expressly to document McPhee's work, Nation Time has a sense of urgency and inspiration. Additional material from those December days would later appear on Black Magic Man, Hat Hut's first release. In fact, the first four records on this seminal Swiss label all featured McPhee. Nation Time was largely unknown a quarter century or so later, when it was first issued on CD through the Unheard Music Series. On Corbett vs. Dempsey, we reissued the album along with all known tapes leading up to and around it as a CD box set, but the standalone LP has remained incredibly rare. In preparing to reissue the CD on its own, a new, previously-unknown tape was discovered with three tracks recorded at the original concert in 1970. These include an intense version of Coltrane's "Naima," all of them feature pianist Kull, and none have been issued before this. Now is the time for a new generation of freaks to lose their shit when settling into the cushy beat of 'Shakey Jake' and answering the call with the only appropriate response: It's NATION TIME!
Joe McPhee & Hamid Drake
Corbett vs. Dempsey
“It's easy to be cynical these days, maybe difficult to imagine that music can change the world, but not for Joe McPhee and Hamid Drake. With Keep Going, they will make the planet a better place for humanity, a place to be humane, to preserve humankind. At 78-years-old, Poughkeepsie multi-instrumentalist McPhee is a national treasure, and he's making more music than ever before, pushing himself to tour incessantly, issuing astonishing new records at a fierce rate. But this release, with legendary Chicago percussionist Drake, is something extremely special in the midst of many special records. The duo first recorded together in 1999, having only played together a limited number of times; the resulting music was issued as Emancipation Proclamation on the Okka Disk label. When the opportunity arose to hit the studio for a second time, McPhee and Drake had two more decades of extensive work together under their belts, as members of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and in many other contexts. But the session somehow consolidated their shared energy in an unexpected way – the drummer's incredible warmth and sense of buoyancy, the saxophonist and trumpeter's preternatural musicality and quest for social justice. The recording started with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman, resulting in the title track; Drake's support was an achingly slow Max Roach-like beat. From this inspired, inspiring starting point, the twosome frolicked through a rich program, McPhee donning tenor and alto saxes, and pocket trumpet, Drake turning momentarily to the frame drum. Each musician contributes an introspective solo track. McPhee at one point plays trumpet into an open gong, which gives him otherworldly overtones, a sort of acoustic version of electric Miles. Drake makes too few records, so anything of his is mandatory; McPhee's been on a roll lately, releasing lots of music, but Keep Going is one not to be missed. ”
Joe McPhee & Mats Gustafsson
Brace For Impact
Corbett vs. Dempsey
“Some recordings, the world is just not ready for them when they're made. In 2008, Swedish born, Austrian resident saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Poughkeepsie, New York multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee made a suite of studio recordings that they loved so much they immediately culled, mixed, and mastered them. A decade later, when the original label for which they were planned had not yet issued them, Gustafsson and McPhee offered them to Corbett vs. Dempsey, and when we heard them we couldn't believe the music. As searching and searing as anything either of them has made, the duets lived up to their explosive title. Gustafsson is known for his energy, and it's here in droves, but there are other nuances brought out by McPhee, a supple sense of melodicism (hey now, Gustafsson is a Swede, so by birthright he's melodic) and the love of experimental sound-making that McPhee displayed on his sound-on-sound recordings in the late '60s. Although the two wind-players have worked together very extensively – in Peter Brötzmann's large groups, with McPhee as a guest in Gustafsson's band the Thing, and in all manner of large and small group improvisations – but they have never issued a record of duets before. This duo debut, now a decade in the can, is insanely powerful. We recommend that you prepare yourself for the impact. Cover image by Charline von Heyl, interior photo of McPhee and Gustafsson bracing themselves back in 2002, by John Corbett. The package is completed by a haunting cover image by artist Cauleen Smith
Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruán Ortiz, Matthew Shipp
New American Songbooks Vol. 2
“Last year’s release found three distinctive voices—Mary Halvorson, Ron Miles, and Greg Saunier—working together to arrange works from mass media. Their collaboration, only a few days in total, culminated in a recording that felt equal parts wild and warm; intimate and revolutionary.
Volume 2 goes in another direction. While the warmth and intimacy is still very present, thanks in large part to the expert sound at Ryan Streber’s Oktaven Studios, the experience is one-on-one, as the listener is the recipient of four mini-recitals from four of the most profound interpreters on the piano today: Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruán Ortiz, and Matthew Shipp.
Joe Morris, John Voigt, Tom Plsek
MVP LSD: The Graphic Scores of Lowell Skinner Davidson
“As with most engaging music, so much informs every moment of MVP LSD that any overarching description is futile. Each performer has a large timbral pallet, but more conventional modes of expression are also plentiful. Sample Morris's beautifully pantonal musings on "Separate Blue X" or Plsek's pointilistic punctuations on "Index Card no. 1." There is dialogue a-plenty, but the larger picture is of a trio, the three musicians often seeming to breathe as one as they explore these rich and multivalent compositional landscapes.
-Mark Medwin "Dusted" 2009”
Günter Christmann, Mats Gustafsson
The Art Of The Duo
“limited edition of 214 copies, each numbered,
each cover is a unique one with "rubber stamp art" by Günter Christmann.
many thanks to Stiftung Niedersachsen
and Kulturbüro der Landeshauptstadt Hannover for their support”
Günter Christmann, Mats Gustafsson
The Art Of The Duo 2
“no. 1-9 recorded april 20th 2017 at Atelier Grammophon, Hannover.
no. 10 recorded jan.2012 at Studio Börnestr. 43, Berlin.
no 11, 12, 13 recorded may 9th 2017 at Kino im Sprengel, Hannover.
no. 15 recorded aug. 20th 2014 at explico, Langenhagen.
Track 15 also available on Stratum (track 11).
Limited edition of 150 copies, each numbered,
each cover is a unique one with "rubber stamp art" by Günter Christmann.”
The Sublime And The Profane
“This is a rare copy of this unique CD limited to 220 copies showcasing Günter Christmann's work alongside a host of improvisers. The CD itself has a wooden panel front opening up to a 2 x CD jewel case.”