The Squid's Ear Magazine


McPhee / Saft / Morris / Downs: Ticonderoga (Clean Feed)

A burning spiritual session inspired by John Coltrane's "Live at the Village Vanguard Again" that began when Jamie Saft told Joe Morris about his deep admiration for Alice Coltrane's playing, adding McPhee and Downs as the perfect complement to realize this excellent album.
 

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Personnel:



Joe McPhee-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

Jamie Saft-piano

Joe Morris-doublebass

Charles Downs-drums


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UPC: 5609063003451

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF345
Squidco Product Code: 21199

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Potterville International Sound, New York on December 27th, 2014 by Jamie Saft.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"This quartet was born from a conversation between Joe Morris and Jamie Saft about their mutual fascination with John Coltrane's "Live at the Village Vanguard Again" album. From there they decided to develop a project under the influence of the music played by Coltrane with his wife Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali and a pair of guests, Pharoah Sanders and Emanuel Rahim. Right away they established that Morris would use a double bass, instead of his usual guitar, and that Saft would focus completely on acoustic piano, putting aside any electric and electronic keyboards. And they immediately named the two other contributors to the enterprise: reedist Joe McPhee - who in fact attended the recording of Coltrane's "Vanguard Again" album, sitting in the front row - and drummer Charles Downs. These choices were obvious: McPhee and Downs are true living legends of free jazz. Morris had a well established musical relationship with McPhee and all loved Downs' contributions, when he was known as Rashid Bakr, to the music of Cecil Taylor, Jemeel Moondoc, William Parker and Roy Campbell. Then they figured out the name of the quartet: Ticonderoga. The Mohawk word means "junction of two waterways". Which waterways? Easy to guess: the original "new thing" fronted by Coltrane with Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman and what is now understood as structured improvised music. The final product hits you like a punch. A good, reviving, punch..."-Clean Feed Records


Artist Biographies

"Joe McPhee, born November 3,1939 in Miami, Florida, USA, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, conceptualist and theoretician. He began playing the trumpet at age eight, taught by his father, himself a trumpet player. He continued on that instrument through his formative school years and later in a U.S. Army band stationed in Germany, at which time he was introduced to performing traditional jazz. Clifford Thornton's Freedom and Unity, released in 1969 on the Third World label, is the first recording on which he appears as a side man. In 1968, inspired by the music of Albert Ayler, he took up the saxophone and began an active involvement in both acoustic and electronic music.

His first recordings as leader appeared on the CJ Records label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson. These include Underground Railroad by the Joe McPhee Quartet (1969), Nation Time (1970), Trinity (1971) and Pieces of Light (1974). In 1975, Swiss entrepreneur Werner X. Uehlinger release Black Magic Man by McPhee, on what was to become Hat Hut Records.

In 1981, he met composer, accordionist, performer, and educator Pauline Oliveros, whose theories of "deep listening" strengthened his interests in extended instrumental and electronic techniques. he also discovered Edward de Bono's book Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity, which presents concepts for solving problems by "disrupting an apparent sequence and arriving at the solution from another angle." de Bono's theories inspired McPhee to apply this "sideways thinking" to his own work in creative improvisation, resulting in the concept of "Po Music." McPhee describes "Po Music" as a "process of provocation" (Po is a language indicator to show that provocation is being used) to "move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones." He concludes, "It is a Positive, Possible, Poetic Hypothesis." The results of this application of Po principles to creative improvisation can be heard on several Hat Art recordings, including Topology, Linear B, and Oleo & a Future Retrospective.

In 1997, McPhee discovered two like-minded improvisers in bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen. The trio premiered at the Vision Jazz Festival in 1998 but the concert went unnoticed by the press. McPhee, Duval, and Rosen therefore decided that an apt title for the group would be Trio X. In 2004 he created Survival Unit III with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zerang to expand his musical horizons and with a career spanning nearly 50 years and over 100 recordings, he continues to tour internationally, forge new connections while reaching for music's outer limits."

-Joe McPhee Website (http://joemcphee.com/bio.html)
5/15/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Jamie Saft (piano, organs, analog synthesis, bass and guitar, steel guitars) is a native of Queens, New York. Since returning to New York in 1993, Saft's stylistic versatility, multi-instrumentalist capabilities, and production skills have been featured with the Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, the B-52's, Laurie Anderson, Bobby Previte, John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Jerry Granelli, Holly Palmer, Marc Ribot's Los Cubanos Postisos, Elysian Fields, Black Beatle, Antony and the Johnsons, Chocolate Genius, JoJo Mayer's Nerve, E-Z Pour Spout, Cuong Vu, Chris Speed Trio Iffy, Jane Ira Bloom, and the Groove Collective.

Saft is a mainstay of the downtown scene and a member of bands such as The Beta Popes, Whoopie Pie, Swami LatePlate, The Shakers and Bakers, Kalashnikov, Pramrod Sexena, and John Zorn's Electric Masada.

Saft was the pianist for the New York and Paris premiers of John Adams' opera "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky" at Lincoln Center and MC93 Bobingy.

Saft has recently composed a number of original film scores and music fortelevision. Recent films scored include the Oscar nominated film"Murderball", Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner "God Grew Tired Of Us",and currently airing HBO documentary "Dear Talula". Saft has alsocontributed score music for Nickelodeon, MTV, and A&E.."

-Jamie Saft Website (http://www.jamiesaft.com/html/bio.html)
5/15/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Joe Morris was born in New Haven, Connecticut on September 13, 1955. At the age of 12 he took lessons on the trumpet for one year. He started on guitar in 1969 at the age of 14. He played his first professional gig later that year. With the exception of a few lessons he is self-taught. The influence of Jimi Hendrix and other guitarists of that period led him to concentrate on learning to play the blues. Soon thereafter his sister gave him a copy of John Coltrane's OM, which inspired him to learn about Jazz and New Music. From age 15 to 17 he attended The Unschool, a student-run alternative high school near the campus of Yale University in downtown New Haven. Taking advantage of the open learning style of the school he spent most of his time day and night playing music with other students, listening to ethnic folk, blues, jazz, and classical music on record at the public library and attending the various concerts and recitals on the Yale campus. He worked to establish his own voice on guitar in a free jazz context from the age of 17. Drawing on the influence of Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor,Thelonius Monk, Ornette Coleman as well as the AACM, BAG, and the many European improvisers of the '70s. Later he would draw influence from traditional West African string music, Messian, Ives, Eric Dolphy, Jimmy Lyons, Steve McCall and Fred Hopkins. After high school he performed in rock bands, rehearsed in jazz bands and played totally improvised music with friends until 1975 when he moved to Boston.

Between 1975 and 1978 he was active on the Boston creative music scene as a soloist as well as in various groups from duos to large ensembles. He composed music for his first trio in 1977. In 1980 he traveled to Europe where he performed in Belgium and Holland. When he returned to Boston he helped to organize the Boston Improvisers Group (BIG) with other musicians. Over the next few years through various configurations BIG produced two festivals and many concerts. In 1981 he formed his own record company, Riti, and recorded his first LpWraparound with a trio featuring Sebastian Steinberg on bass and Laurence Cook on drums. Riti records released four more LPs and CDs before 1991. Also in 1981 he began what would be a six year collaboration with the multi-instrumentalist Lowell Davidson, performing with him in a trio and a duo. During the next few years in Boston he performed in groups which featured among others; Billy Bang, Andrew Cyrille, Peter Kowald, Joe McPhee, Malcolm Goldstein, Samm Bennett, Lawrence "Butch" Morris and Thurman Barker. Between 1987 and 1989 he lived in New York City where he performed at the Shuttle Theater, Club Chandelier, Visiones, Inroads, Greenwich House, etc. as well as performing with his trio at the first festival Tea and Comprovisation held at the Knitting Factory.

In 1989 he returned to Boston. Between 1989 and 1993 he performed and recorded with his electric trio Sweatshop and electric quartet Racket Club. In 1994 he became the first guitarist to lead his own session in the twenty year history of Black Saint/Soulnote Records with the trio recording Symbolic Gesture. Since 1994 he has recorded for the labels ECM, Hat Hut, Leo, Incus, Okka Disc, Homestead, About Time, Knitting Factory Works, No More Records, AUM Fidelity and OmniTone and Avant. He has toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe as a solo and as a leader of a trio and a quartet. Since 1993 he has recorded and/or performed with among others; Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe and Mat Maneri, Rob Brown, Raphe Malik, Ivo Pearlman, Borah Bergman, Andrea Parkins, Whit Dickey, Ken Vandermark, DKV Trio, Karen Borca, Eugene Chadborne, Susie Ibarra, Hession/Wilkinson/Fell, Roy Campbell Jr., John Butcher, Aaly Trio, Hamid Drake, Fully Celebrated Orchestra and others.

He began playing acoustic bass in 2000 and has since performed with cellist Daniel Levin, Whit Dickey and recorded with pianist Steve Lantner.

He has lectured and conducted workshops trroughout the US and Europe. He is a former member of the faculty of Tufts University Extension College and is currently on the faculty at New England Conservatory in the jazz and improvisation department. He was nominated as Best Guitarist of the year 1998 and 2002 at the New York Jazz Awards."

-Joe Morris Website (http://www.joe-morris.com/biography.html)
5/15/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Charles Downs is a New York City drummer known for band Centipede, influenced by Miles Davis, Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, samba, Afro Cuban, and Caribbean feelings, and points in between. He was a member of Jameel Moondoc's Muntu. He worked with Bobby Zankel, and performed with Cecil Taylor, including being a member of Cecil Taylor's big band. He is a member of Flow Trio with Louie Belogenis and Joe Morris, and Other Dimensions in Music.

-Squidco 5/15/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Beyond Days 8:56

2. Simplicity Of Man 14:44

3. Leaves Of Certain 17:32

4. A Backward King 19:11

Related Categories of Interest:

Clean Feed

Improvised Music
Jazz
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Free Improvisation
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Joe McPhee
Top Sellers and Staff Lists for 2015

Search for other titles on the label:
Clean Feed.


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