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A 2 CD issue of the 2013 LP with 78 additional minutes, from the two day residency at UK's Cafe Oto of Decoy (bassist John Edwards, Alexander Hawkins on Hammond B3, and drummer Steve Nobles) with special guest Joe McPhee on pocket trumpet and alto sax.

Decoy with Joe Mcphee
Spontaneous Combustion [2 CDs]

Decoy with Joe Mcphee: Spontaneous Combustion [2 CDs] (Otoroku)
Label: Otoroku    
Released in: Great Britain    

"There is something deeply intimate in the about eleven minutes of wait and evolution before the real explosion of interplay -- it's a long, slow, precious dovetailing of musical relationships between four great musicians. Joe McPhee starts needling the others through the raucous timbre of his pocket trumpet, balancing some meaningful rich phrases with blown passages. The scattered pizzicato incursions of John Edwards rebound Steve Nobles' sharp bells, muted gongs and minimal percussion. The organ of Alexander Hawkins starts its journey from another world, on sustained high pitch tones slowly developing a second voice in search of dialogue. Then Edwards takes to the bow, moulding low magnetic chords and Noble's rolls becomes sumptuous. It's like watching a group of kids discovering the pleasure and the joy of "playing" together. Organ presence becomes total, though never invasive. Hawkins goes for a luxuriant solo exploring all the colours and the tones offered the by large palette of his instrument, his fingers running along the two-floor keyboard in an endless spiral. He saturates so much the atmosphere that sometimes the result is like a vibrating cluster of unrecognisable and mesmeric chords.

A Hammond B3 tends to be an overwhelming instrument, not just for its size, and the detractors of prog and psychedelic rock, as I am sometimes, can be doubtful about its role. But it really works well in this set.

On the second side, McPhee unsheathes his alto sax giving a different bluesy slow imprint to the sound of the group, while the rhythm section endorses him with sudden time changes. Edward's bass turns out a darker sound. He first dialogues melancholically for several minutes with McPhee while Noble slows down and snaps the rhythm, then he makes his bow scrape a short and involving solo in the instrument's lower register. Finally, he faces a real challenge, playing against the beats and wooden inlays of the drummer. I wonder if it's McPhee screaming somewhere there in the middle. It's around about at the time of Noble's astounding solo on metals and plates enhanced by the water drops effect of Hawkins organ. Soon, the quartet re-joins and closes in a boppish manner.

I can't be wrong: this is definitely genuine, joyous, satisfying and great jazz!

The recording stands as testimony to the second set of the first night of Decoy's two-day residence in Café Oto during October 2011 featuring Joe McPhee."-Paolo Casertano, Free Jazz Blog

Also available on vinyl LP.

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Joe McPhee
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Quartet Recordings

Get additional information at Free Jazz Blog

Search for other titles on the Otoroku label.

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Price: $16.95
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Product Information:


Label: Otoroku
Catalog ID: ROKU 002CD
Squidco Product Code: 19599

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on October 29th, 2011 by Mick Ritchie.


John Edwards-double bass

Alexander Hawkins-Hammond B3 organ

Steve Noble-drums

Joe McPhee-pocket trumpet, alto saxophone

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Track Listing:


1. Spontaneous Combustion 1 37:27


1. Spontaneous Combustion 2 Set 1 38:08

2. Spontaneous Combustion 2 Set 2 34:23

3. Encore 5:31