In 1979 Joe McPhee, working with CJR produced Craig Johnson, recorded this set of overdubbed recordings of himself performing on saxes, trumpet and flugelhorn over original compositions showcasing solo, duo, trio and quartet contexts, an album of virtual McPhee ensembles!
Alone Together: The Solo Ensemble Recordings 1974 & 1979
Label: Corbett vs. Dempsey
Released in: USA
"In his upstate NY secret laboratory, home-based in Poughkeepsie, Joe McPhee diligently documented his activities throughout the '70s, with the help of Craig Johnson, the producer who started CjR as an outlet for McPhee's music. Among the unreleased tapes waxed in that span, Alone Together is unique and especially beautiful.
Like Sound on Sound (released by Corbett vs. Dempsey in 2010), these recordings make use of multitrack recording, overdubbing McPhee upon McPhee, however where those earlier recordings had an experimental tendency, the Alone Together tracks were more compositional in nature, allowing the multi-instrumentalist to build and sculpt each piece, creating complete wind ensembles one track at a time.
In 1974 and then again in a longer session in 1979, McPhee recorded in concise solo, duo, and trio contexts, and in more extensive brass and reed quartets - all McPhee, all the time. Going head-to-head with the best of the saxophone foursomes of the era, McPhee is a one-man-WSQ, his probing investigations and lyrical statements as incisive and insightful as those of his best-known recordings.
McPhee's own enthusiasm for these never-before-heard recordings betrays their significance in his large and ever-mounting discography. Corbett vs. Dempsey is honored, after so long, to finally make them available."-Corbett vs. Dempsey
• 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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NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Label: Corbett vs. Dempsey
Catalog ID: CvsDCD021
Squidco Product Code: 21488
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in West Park, New York, in 1974 and 1979 by Craig Johnson.
Joe McPhee-soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flugelhorn, trumpet, alto horn
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1. Theme 1:50
2. Soprano/Alto/Tenor Trio 7:06
3. Tenor/Alto Duo 5:22
4. Flugelhorn/Alto Duo 5:04
5. Trumpet/Tenor Duo 1:00
6. Alto Saxphone Quartet 5:17
7. Brass Reed Quartet 7:10
8. Reed Quartet 7:34
9. Brass Reed Quartet II 5:49
10. Alto Horn Quartet 10:03
11. Theme 1:17