In 1996, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Joe McPhee's first solo release, McPhee recorded this remarkable album of solo reeds, pocket cornet, and electronics, using overdubbing to create gripping music including an homage to Miles Davis and unique versions of standards.
Catalog ID: 704
Squidco Product Code: 19726
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Mixtery Studio in Trumbull, Connecticut, on May 22nd, 1996 by Matt Szwed.
Joe McPhee-reeds, pocket cornet, piano, electronics
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1. The Death Of Miles Davis 6:29
2. A Wish In One Hand 6:42
3. Ain't Nothin' But The Blues 5:30
4. As Serious As Your Life 1 9:11
5. Haiku Study 1 4:43
6. Conlon In The Land Of Ra 5:10
7. The Man I Love 6:47
8. Tok 2:27
9. As Serious As Your Life 2 3:21
10. After The Rain 5:26
11. Party Lights 1:03
Related Categories of Interest:
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Recordings featuring brass instruments - trumpets, trombones, tubas, other horns
Solo Artist Recordings
Hat Hut 40th Anniversary Sale
sample the album:
"For me, 1996 was an important transitional year in which I decided to pursue what I called Project Dream Keeper. The goal, to begin realizing projects which had been shelved for years. One such project was to produce a solo recording in celebration of the 20th anniversary of my first solo release Tenor. With Tenor began a very important solo period which until now has never been documented on CD. Previous LP releases have long been out of print and difficult to find. I sincerely hope this is a new beginning. I wanted to return to the roots of my solo performances."-Joe McPhee
"Taking its title from the classic jazz book by Valerie Wilmer, As Serious as Your Life is a solo recording wherein multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee deeply explores various facets and territories in the music. He begins with a sad, heartfelt tribute on pocket cornet to the late Miles Davis and includes homages to musicians from Sun Ra to Coltrane to Conlon Nancarrow. McPhee freely uses overdubbing, either accompanying himself on various wind instruments or, as on the fascinating version of Gershwin's "The Man I Love," with percolating electronics reminiscent of South African mbira music. His blues-drenched tenor playing on this piece takes it to realms undreamt of by its creator. This foundation in the blues is one of the things separating McPhee from many contemporaries plumbing the freer areas of jazz, and it serves him very well. Few of his peers could pull off the devastating rendition of Coltrane's "After the Rain" that McPhee, on soprano, does here. As Serious as Your Life offers a fairly wide picture of the range of his talents and creative genius, and is arguably the finest of his solo recordings. Highly recommended."-Brian Olewnick, All Music
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• 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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