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Trio X

AIR: Above and Beyond

Trio X: AIR: Above and Beyond (CIMPOL)

Trio X with Joe McPhee on tenor for the Suoni Per il Popolo Music Festival in Montreal, Canada 2006 playing a mix of standards and original compositions.

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product information:

UPC: 786497568923

Catalog ID: 5001
Squidco Product Code: 9281

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2007
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded June 15, 2006 in Montreal, Canada by Marc D. Rusch.


Joe McPhee-tenor sax

Dominic Duval-bass

Jay Rosen-drums

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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 (

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"Jay Rosen (born November 20, 1961) is an American jazz drummer. He is a member of Trio X with Joe McPhee and Dominic Duval and performs in Cosmosomatics with Sonny Simmons.

At age 10, Rosen became interested in jazz drumming after seeing Tony Williams perform with Sonny Rollins. He took lessons from Tracy Alexander, son of Mousey Alexander (with an occasional lesson from the elder Alexander). Later, he would study briefly with Barry Altschul.

Around age 18, Rosen became a professional musician. He worked at studios, weddings, and cocktail lounges in rock, rhythm and blues, country, jazz, and Brazilian music. His recording career in improvised music began in the mid-1990s, when he recorded Split Personality (GM Records) with Mark Whitecage and Dominic Duval. He began an association with the CIMP label in 1996, and has also recorded for Cadence). Todd Jenkins describes Rosen and Duval as the "house rhythm section" for CIMP, given the number of recordings on which they have appeared.:231

Since 1998, Rosen has performed with Joe McPhee and Dominic Duval in Trio X.:360 In 2000, he joined Cosmosomatics, a quartet with saxophonists Sonny Simmons and Michael Marcus and bassist William Parker.:114

Rosen describes himself as "a musician who plays percussion" rather than "'just a drummer.'" He uses a set of small cymbals that he approaches "like a string player, or a reed player," and his drum kit includes objects such as a boat propeller and a set of organ pipes that he activates with foot-driven bellows. Although Rosen is associated with free improvisation, he questions whether the music he plays is "free:"

"While 'free music' indicates that you're free to play whatever you want to play and you're not following chord progressions, and there's no time, there's no this, no that...The way I've been playing free music, with my constituents, doesn't really follow those guidelines. When we play, it's very well put together, in actuality. We're not just blowing to blow; there's listening going on, there's concerted effort at construction and organization, at putting things together - at minute levels - that hardly go on in 'free music' anymore."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Fried Grapefruit (For Henry Threadgill) 16:30

2. Jump Spring (For William Parker) 10:57

3. 21281/2 Indiana (For Fred Anderson) 8:15

4. Close Up 7:31

5. Give Us This Day (For Duke Ellington) 10:22

6. Here's that Rainy Day 5:41

7. A Valentine in the Fog of War 8:27
descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The Suoni Per il Popolo Music Festival was established in 2000 and basically supports and exposes (in a word) independent music. Invited in 2006, this Trio X document comes from those sets and follows, by a day, the duet concerts with Dominic Duval and Joe McPhee. The previous night's concert energized Joe into a fitful night's sleep and he, Dominic, and Jay Rosen, all took afternoon naps and were well rested for this night's adventures.

And what an adventure it was, mainly due to Trio X's constantly evolving program. Their track record of arriving at and sustaining an elevated level of inspired musical artistry has been consistently high. Yet this is still an unpredictable muse, not a science. And when you add to this the vagaries and pitfalls of recording in what is basically an uncontrolled environment of air-conditioning hum, squeaky doors, audience noise, an active bar, street noise and other ambiant distractions, the probability of a worthy and successful recording documentation diminishes.

For this outing of Trio X, Joe decided to concentrate on tenor sax; in this case a tenor which, for the first set, he played with a bass clarinet reed.

Intros were made, lights were lowered, and Jay-mallets in hand-then Dominic, set the course for Fried Grapefruit which quickly absorbed the audience in its completeness. I was reminded that Jay and Dominic, over a decade prior to Trio X (founded in 1998), had worked together induo and in fact recorded an entire CD in that format (The Wedding Band, CIMP 137). At the end of Jay and Dominic's overture, Joe, mesmerized by their playing, (I think) was caught a bit off-guard as he stepped up with a couple of instinctive toots. Even so he immediately got his footing and thenjoined the group for what turned out to be an outstandingly beautiful and strong performance, easily trumping any of the ambient noises that disinterestedly intruded. A fine fine example of the best in statement, timing, pacing, and transitions.

Following this tour-de-force (and while Jay made somerepairs on the bass drum pedal and Joe adjusted his sax pads) was a rather seamless down moment as Dominic and bass mused on. Jay (by now having made his repairs) joined in and Joe finally slid in as well for variations and a fiesta of sounds on Jump Spring.

Jay then picked up a thread with a hipdrum feature (21281/2 Indiana), Dominic entered, laid down a bass line, while Joe summoned his individual strength to match, and together the trio was exceeded by the power of the group. So connected with the music are these three that it was both a new beginning and a continuation when Dominic moved into Close Up, a requiem type piece, very much favored by both Joe and Dominic.

For the second set Joe changed to a tenor reed and opened in sax-speak mode (Give Us This Day) before moving into a decidedly Ayler-esque mood. Check out Jay's rather free use of counter time behind Joe and Dominic as the trio moved determinedly to a central point/intersection.

To accommodate a CD's finite length, at this point in the program, we jump to the end of the second set which picks up with Dominic referencing a group favorite, Here's That Rainy Day. At its conclusion it seemed as though the evening's music had ended, but in the background Dominic made the signal for more. And more followed in the form of A Valentine in the Fog of War, a reprisal from their 2004 CIMP (#328) recording."-CIMP

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Joe McPhee
Trio Recordings
Quartet Recordings

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