The Decoy trio of organist Alexander Hawkins, double-bassist John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble are joined by NY saxophonist Joe McPhee to perform 3 wild improvisations at London's Cafe Oto.
Decoy & Joe McPhee
Label: Bo Weavil Recordings
Released in: Great Britain
"In its short life, London's Café Oto has played host to more than its share of memorable gigs by such improvisers as John Tchicai, Marshall Allen and Evan Parker, but surely none more remarkable than the December 2009 meeting of the veteran American saxophonist Joe McPhee and the British trio Decoy: the organist Alexander Hawkins, the double-bassist John Edwards and the drummer Steve Noble. It was a night of unceasing reward from music distinguished by such intensity of spirit and richness of timbre.
Hawkins is a young composer and keyboardist with a rapidly growing reputation and a clear interest in working with musicians of diverse backgrounds. His early training as a pipe organist surely encourages him to exploit the full range of textures offered by the Hammond C3 and its accompanying Leslie speaker.
John Edwards may well be the busiest musician on the improvising scene, his near-ubiquitous presence an infallible guarantee of vitality and substance; only his noted ability to bring a sagging session to life is not required here.
Steve Noble, who is among Edwards' regular partners, provides a fine combination of stealth and swing, of drama and discretion, although the dexterous aplomb with which he negotiated a solo passage for small, untethered cymbals really had to be seen as well as heard.
McPhee may be a man of an earlier generation, but he shares their absolute devotion to cliché-free spontaneity. Listening to him working in this unusually stimulating context, and appreciating his eloquence, sensitivity and pronounced gift for timbral variation, it is difficult to understand why he is not spoken of more often in the same breath as some of the more renowned free saxophonists. His ability to sing through the trio's array of pointillist textures, or to launch himself full-tilt into the churning maelstrom, adds a significant element to an already remarkable organism."-Bo Weaveil
• Show Bio for Joe McPhee
"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)
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• Show Bio for Alexander Hawkins
"Alexander Hawkins is a composer, pianist, organist, and bandleader who is 'unlike anything else in modern creative music' (Ni Kantu) and whose recent work has reached a 'dazzling new apex' (Downbeat). A largely self-taught improviser, he works in a vast array of creative contexts. His own highly distinctive soundworld is forged through the search to reconcile both his love of free improvisation and profound fascination with composition and structure. In 2012, he was chosen as a member of the first edition of the London Symphony Orchestra's 'Soundhub' scheme for young composers. He also received a major BBC commission in late 2012 for a fifty minute composition: One Tree Found was first performed and broadcast in March 2013, and was subsequently performed and broadcast for the WDR in Cologne (2014). He has also twice been commissioned by the London Jazz Festival (once as composer, once as an arranger), and by the Cheltenham Jazz Festival (2016).
An in-demand sideman, Hawkins continues to be heard live and on record with vast array of contemporary leaders of all generations, including the likes of Evan Parker, John Surman, Joe McPhee, Mulatu Astatke, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Marshall Allen, Rob Mazurek, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Harris Eisenstadt, amongst many others. He has also been noted in recent years for his performances in the bands of legendary South African drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo. Concert appearances have taken him to club, concert and festival stages worldwide."-Alexander Hawkins Website (http://www.alexanderhawkinsmusic.com/biographyimages.html)
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• Show Bio for John Edwards
"After taking up the bass, around 1987, John Edwards co-formed The Pointy Birds who went on to win awards for their music for The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs dance troupes. The group appeared at festivals in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Moers, Leverkusen, Copenhagen. Around 1990, Edwards played his first gigs with London improvisers such as Roger Turner, Lol Coxhill, Maggie Nicols, Phil Minton.
Between 1990 and 1995 Edwards was a member of three touring groups simultaneously: B-Shops For The Poor, The Honkies and GOD. During this period he also became an increasingly regular player on the London improvised music scene and performed his first solo gigs; he composed and performed music theatre with the bass and cello duo The Great Explorers, street-busked a lot and appeared at many more festivals in Germany, Estonia, France, Italy, Czech, etc.
Since 1995 John Edwards has become a "mainstay" of the London scene, playing with just about everybody, an activity that has seen him clocking up between 150 and 200 gigs a year. He has become regular player with Evan Parker, in many groupings, and with Tony Bevan, Veryan Weston, and Elton Dean, often in collaboration with Mark Sanders on percussion. He has become a more frequent player on the European (and festival) scene, appearing at Taktlos, Ulrichsburg, Nickelsdorf, Budapest, New Zealand and in the USA. He continues to work on solo performances."-EFI (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/medwards.html)
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• Show Bio for Steve Noble
"Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more.
In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book 'Improvisation; its nature and practise'. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and currently leads the groups N.E.W (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins)."-https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/artists/steve-noble/ (Cafe Oto Website)
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At The Squid's Ear!
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European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Label: Bo Weavil Recordings
Catalog ID: WEAVIL 041CD
Squidco Product Code: 13182
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded live at Cafe Oto on November, 12th, 2009 by Shane Browne.
Joe McPhee-tenor & soprano sax
Alexander Hawkins-Hammond B3 Organ
John Edwards-double bass
Steve Noble-drums & percussion
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1. Opening Might 39:53
2. Breakout 30:47
3. Dancing On The Wolf Road 8:42