Live recordings at Sugar Maple/Okka Fest in 2015 from the duo of saxophonist Joe McPhee on tenor & soprano, and double bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, in a set dedicated to Paris jazz singer and club owner Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith, aka Bricktop.
McPhee, Joe / Ingebrigt Haker Flaten
Label: Trost Records
Released in: UK
"Cab Calloway once said, You hear about the Duke Ellingtons, the Jimmy Luncefords, the Fletcher Hendersons, but people sometimes forget that jazz was not only built in the minds of the great ones, but on the backs of the ordinary ones."
One of the "extraordinary" ones, who left America to create the jazz age in Paris between the First and Second World Wars, was Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith aka Bricktop (1894-1984). In an expatriate community of musicians, entertainers and entrepreneurs, in the Paris neighborhood of Montmartre, Bricktop became an iconic, legendary saloonkeeper and hostess to the rich and famous, who came to own several jazz clubs of herself.
Cole Porter became a frequent patron at one of her establishments and was perhaps, the greatest influence on her career. "When it came time to open her own club, it was Porter who insisted that she name it Bricktop's, knowing it was the lady herself people would come to see." He wrote "Miss Otis Regrets," one of his most successful songs, in her honor.
A singer, dancer, actress and entrepreneur herself, Bricktop did it all but she never forgot her humble African American beginnings. With this recording, we remember Bricktop, the sadly neglected era in African American cultural history and the remarkable music and musicians such as Sidney Bechtel, Eugene Bullard, James Reese Europe, Josephine Baker, Django Reinhardt and so many more.
The idea for this tribute and titles we chose were inspired by the book Harlem in Montmartre: a Paris Jazz Story (University of California Press) by historian William A. Shack and by the Vanguard Documentaries Inc. video of the same name. "A colorful, musical, poignant look at the contributions of a select group of black Americans, without whom the collective voice of jazz music around the world would sound entirely different."-Joe McPhee
• 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 Ingebrigt Haker Flaten
"Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b. 1971, Oppdal) - studied Jazz at the Music Consevatory in Trondheim, Norway (1992-1995) under the tutelage of bassplayer Odd Magne Gridseth.
When one listens to the great bassists in modern jazz history, a striking thing (though it may not be immediately arrived at) is that greatness is reached through open-mindedness and diversity. William Parker, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Peter Kowald, Wilbur Ware, Bertram Turetsky, Buell Neidlinger - all of these bass players have embraced a lifestyle of playing all sorts of music and the breadth of each musicians' technique is a testament to those experiences. Norwegian bassist and composer Ingebrigt Håker Flaten is also a musician whose experience is both geographical and aesthetic. While the fertile Scandinavian new jazz scene offered a vast amount of opportunities to work in different bands with musicians whose concepts are as individual as the grains in a reed, Flaten has found home and on-the-bandstand education in places as far flung as Chicago and his current residence Austin, Texas.
A muscular player whose tone and attack run the gamut from Paul Chambers to Buschi Niebergall, his sense of both openness and control serves ensembles as diverse as The Thing, Free Fall, Atomic, Scorch Trio and the Kornstad/Håker Flaten Duo. In addition to his own Chicago Sextet and Austin-centric Young Mothers, Flaten has also recorded and performed with Frode Gjerstad, Dave Rempis, Bobby Bradford, the AALY Trio, Ken Vandermark, Stephen Gauci, Tony Malaby, Daniel Levin, Dennis Gonzalez and numerous others. Flaten studied at the Conservatory in Trondheim (1992-1995), turning professional shortly afterward, yet his hunger to play in new situations with new musicians - schooled or amateur, frequently recorded or just starting out - puts him in a rare class, that of a truly broad-minded artist. That mettle has served him well, living and developing the music under his own steam and drawing from influences as diverse as Derek Bailey, George Russell, Chris McGregor, filmmakers Ingmar Bergman, contemporary pop melody and gritty punk music as well as everyday sights and sounds.
There is a calmness and self-assuredness that imbues all great artists, in that the diversity of their work comes with very little ego. Flaten's artistry is often in collective, leaderless ensembles and in fact, following a decade of professional musicianship it wasn't until 2004 that his leader-debut was released - Quintet (Jazzland, followed in 2008 by The Year of the Boar, and a Sextet recording is upcoming). This latter fact is partly due to the necessity of a copacetic situation - in an interview in 2010 with the Austinist he noted that "I use people where I'm located. It's inspiring to have your own band to write for, but you have to make sure that people feel free and not limited by the music; the compositions should lead the way to a player's open mind, and that is a challenge." Certainly not every bandleader/composer thinks this way.
In 2011, he formed another ensemble, The Young Mothers, which includes drummers Stefan Gonzalez (Dallas) and Frank Rosaly (Chicago), trumpeter/poet/rapper Jawaad Taylor (New York), saxophonist Jason Jackson (Houston), and Jonathan Horne (Austin) on guitar. It's a group of varying levels and influences and as it grows organically, will be another excellent lens through which to view Flaten's aesthetic, philosophy, and musicianship. The next few years see him in a position where established ensembles can steep and spread their influence, while experimenting with and nurturing a wide range of new relationships."-Ingebrigt Haker Flaten Website (http://www.ingebrigtflaten.com/about-me/)
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Label: Trost Records
Catalog ID: TROST 157CD
Squidco Product Code: 22962
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at Sugar Maple/Okka Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on , June 6th, 2015, by Dave Zuchowski/
Joe McPhee-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten-double bass
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1. Harlem 19:30
2. Bricktop 10:06
3. Montmartre 7:00