The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

River People (Bucher / Countryman / Alegre / Hori):
Sol Expression (ChapChap Records)

Evoking images of Indigenous Filipinos through free improvisation, with titles referencing the rivers, rains and environment that define them, the multi-national River People quartet of Christian Bucher on drums, Johnny Alegre on guitar, Tetsuro Hori on bass and Rick Countryman on alto saxophone are captured in the studio in Manila for seven superb collective conversations. ... Click to View


Sana Nagano:
Anime Mundi (577 Records)

A superb chamber jazz trio from NY improvisers Sana Nagano on violin, Karl Berger on piano & vibraphone and Billy Martin on drums & percussion, Nagano having a long history with each through Berger's Improvisers Orchestra and with Martin through Creative Music Studio, their connections evident in the articulately energetic and confident collective conversations. ... Click to View


Sana Nagano:
Anime Mundi [VINYL] (577 Records)

A superb chamber jazz trio from NY improvisers Sana Nagano on violin, Karl Berger on piano & vibraphone and Billy Martin on drums & percussion, Nagano having a long history with each through Berger's Improvisers Orchestra and with Martin through Creative Music Studio, their connections evident in the articulately energetic and confident collective conversations. ... Click to View


Hal Russell / Joel Futterman:
The Chicago River [3 CDs] (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Late Chicago saxophonist, trumpeter & vibraphonist Hal Russell (NRG Ensemble) and legendary pianist Joel Futterman, also on curved soprano saxophone & Indian flue, are heard in the complete recordings from their two day concert for the victims of the 1992 Great Flood of the Chicago River, presenting a five part work of flowing free jazz force and currents of creative power. ... Click to View


Blue Lines Trio (Scheen / van der Weide / Hadow):
Chance and Change (Casco Records)

The free swinging Dutch piano trio of Michiel Scheen on piano, Raoul van der Weide on contrabass, synthesizer & objects and George Hadow on drums, in a set of buoyant and ebullient improvisations, a mix of composed and collective works that bring together tradition and freedom, melody and abstraction, while clearly enjoying their playful approach to creative jazz. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg :
Night Will Fade and Fall Apart [2 CDs] (thanatosis produktion)

The 6 piece Tya Ensemble of string, piano, percussion and vibraphone performs Swedish composer Magnus Granberg's beautifully delicate and dusky work, conceived from historic and recent song structures and written so that individual parts also may be performed as solo pieces, as heard in an extended ensemble version and four solo and one duo configuration. ... Click to View


Alex Zethson:
Residy (thanatosis produktion)

The Residy, or remains of a unique variation on JS Bach's Goldberg Variation no. 21, performed live by pianist Alex Zethson who maintains the structure, rhythmic movement and note order of Bach's composition, while dispersing the notes and intervals into two synths and an E-bowed grand piano to evoke these meditative and expansive interpretations. ... Click to View


Gareth Davis / Machinefabriek:
Standards (of Sorts) (Sublime Retreat)

Frequent collaborators Rutger Zyderveldt (Machinefabriek) and bass & contrabass clarinetist Gareth Davis join together for five "Standards" through electronics, synthetics and unorthodox reed work, transmuting their instruments as they create variations from a few notes, some of them "misremembered", from jazz and contemporary classical standards. ... Click to View


Amelia Cuni / Alex Mendizabal:
Stimmen Aus Himmel Und Holle (ANTS Records)

Translating to "Voices from Heaven and Hell", the meeting of two Berlin artists--Amelia Cuni, whose vocal work is described as in/voluntary singing; and Alex Mendizabal, a sound artist who here electronically manipulates the voice of Cuni--use texts from poet Erin Honeycutt as the two apply diverse, fascinating and sometimes unnerving approaches to voice, utterance and expression. ... Click to View


Various Artists:
Free Percussion/Water [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tsss Tapes)

Demonstrating the striking diversity modern solo percussionists present, the Italian tape label TSSS Tapes compiles an international set of solo works from explorers Tim Daisy, Jeph Jerman, Ted Byrnes, Wojtek Kurek, Clinton Green, Rie Nakajima, Emilio Berne, Shakeeb Abu Hamdan, Lucie Nezri, Karen Willems, Paolo Sanna, Li Qing, Carlos Godinho, and Rodrigo Vieira. ... Click to View


Dreamstruck (Crispell / Fonda / Sorgen):
With Grace In Mind (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Officially taking their group name from the title of their first album, The Dreamstruck trio of Marilyn Crispell on piano, Joe Fonda on bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums are heard in this innately lyrical and masterfully controlled, concise set of studio recordings, with compositions from each performer and two collective improvisations, a remarkable example of the modern piano trio. ... Click to View


Rempis / Reid / Abrams:
Allium (Aerophonic)

The second release from the Chicago chamber-oriented, collective free jazz trio of Dave Rempis on alto & tenor saxophone, Tomeka Reid on cello, and Joshua Abrams on bass, expanding on their highly concentrative and contemplative approach to group dialog, a powerfully assured and seemingly composed set of nine impeccable improvisations. ... Click to View


Seabrook / Cleaver / Cooper-Moore:
In The Swarm [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

The second album from guitarist Brandon Seabrook's Trio with Gerald Cleaver on drums & pulsating & punctuating electronics, Cooper-Moore providing massive and unconvential bass sounds on his Diddley Bow, and Seabrook himself playing banjo in inexplicably rapid and staccato runs or electric guitar with eccentric effects; rip-roaring, sometimes surreal, absolutely superb! ... Click to View


Horace Silver Quintet:
Live New York, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Recorded around the time of his most famous records, Song For My Father and The Cape Verdean Blues, lyrical hard bop/Blue Note pianist and composer Horace Silver's band is heard live at The Half Note in NYC and at "The Cork & Bib" on Long Island with his spectacular band including trumpeters Carmell Jones & Woody Shaw and saxophonist Joe Henderson. ... Click to View


Lionel Hampton Orchestra 1958:
The Mess Is Here, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

An influence on the next generation of small band and bop players, vibraphonist and Band Leader Lionel Hampton's programs included both crowd-pleasers and sophisticatedly complex sections, heard here in this 1958 studio recording from Stuttgart, Germany while touring Europe, Ghana and Israel with his exceptional band expanded by three German jazz musicians. ... Click to View


The Work:
The Worst of Everywhere [2 CDs] (Ultragash)

Originally released by Woof Records in 1982 on cassette, this double CD reissues an essential lo-fi document from The Work (Bill Gilonis, Mick Hobbs, Tim Hodgkinson and Rick Wilson) in live performances from gigs and rehearsals assembled in cut-up form, adding new pieces and expanding on others, joined at times by Catherine Jauniaux, Bob Ostertag, Chris Cutler, &c. ... Click to View


Christian Wolfarth :
39 / Part I - III (Hiddenbell Records)

39 tracks make up this compelling 3-part solo percussion work from Swiss improviser and composer Christian Wolfarth, using a game approach where some sequences are determined by the roll of a dice for note values, rest and tempo, Wolfarth performing on dead wood, a drum or 39 pine cones, augmented with recordings of stones, water, footsteps, church bells, &c. ... Click to View


David Ryan (Crosby / Innocenti / Lash):
Fields And Refrains (Aural Terrains)

A collection of three modified solo pieces and one collective performance with a minimalist aesthetic through compositions by David Ryan, performed by William Crosby on guitar, Luca Innocenti on church organ & Hammond organ and Dominic Lash on contrabass, each score allowing for interpretation and improvisation, particularly the final collaborative piece. ... Click to View


Sage Harlow J :
Variations Without A Theme (Drones Ongs) (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Australian sound poet and vocalist Sage J Harlow aka Sage Pbbbt, whose innovative vocal work takes inspiration from Tuvan and Mongolian overtone singing and Inuit throat singing, created this mysterious set of electroacoustic compositions on the unceeded lands of the Whadjuk People of the Noongar Nation, developing four works of spellbinding spectral ambience. ... Click to View


Samuel Blaser:
7th Heaven (Between The Lines)

Based in New York at the time of this recording, Swiss trombonist and composer Samuel Blaser's quartet with Thomas Morgan on double bass, Gerald Cleaver on drums and Scott Dubois on guitar explore rhythmic and tonal approaches to improvisation, bridging modern compositional forms with traditional jazz in energetic playing of an engagingly relaxed mood. ... Click to View


Jeff Parker / Eric Revis / Nasheet Waits:
Eastside Romp (RogueArt)

Though having worked together in various collaborations, the trio of Jeff Parker on guitar, Eric Revis on double bass and Nasheet Waits on drums had never recorded as a trio before this 2016 studio date in Pasadena, CA, each player contributing compositions for the album, along with one collective improvisation and a cover of Marion Brown's "Similar Limits". ... Click to View


Jeff Parker / Eric Revis / Nasheet Waits:
Eastside Romp [VINYL] (RogueArt)

Though having worked together in various collaborations, the trio of Jeff Parker on guitar, Eric Revis on double bass and Nasheet Waits on drums had never recorded as a trio before this 2016 studio date in Pasadena, CA, each player contributing compositions for the album, along with one collective improvisation and a cover of Marion Brown's "Similar Limits". ... Click to View


Sylvain Kassap Sextet :
Octobres (RogueArt)

An extension to a cycle of recordings that started in 1985 with his Saxifrages Octet, clarinetist Sylvain Kassap leads his sextet through original compositions that integrate jazz, compositional and avant rock structures into a unique chamber jazz form, a sophisticated approach to writing as Kassap commemorates the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. ... Click to View


Graewe / Lonberg Holm / Gratkowski:
Trilinear Polarity (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

In 2004 legendary European Free Jazz pianist Georg Graewe and German multi-reedist Frank Gratkowski met with Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm on the stage at LOFT in Cologne, Germany to perform these six collective improvisations with an innate chamber jazz feeling, particularly the four part "Trilinear Polarity"; a spectacular set available for the first time. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman:
Intervals 2 (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Technically brilliant and creatively inventive, pianist Joel Futterman expands on his 2020 Listen! Foundation CD with a second three-part journey into his powerfully investigative approach to solo jazz improvisation, referencing a history of styles and techniques that display both a dynamo of intricate ability and a sensitivity to timing, space and melodic expression. ... Click to View


Playfield (Carter / Muhr / Ishito / Plaks / Namenwirth / Takahashi / Swanson / Panikkar):
Stepping Out, Vol. 1 (577 Records)

Having previously released outdoor live performances integrating the sounds of NY into their expansive improvisations, the Playfield octet led by Daniel Carter with Ayumi Ishito (Sax), Eric Plaks (Piano & Rhodes), Aron Namenwirth (Guitar), Yutaka Takahashi (Guitar), Luisa Muhr (voice), Zachary Swanson (Bass) and Jon Panikkar (Drums) step inside to record three far-reaching and inclusive studio improvisations. ... Click to View


Yamazaki / Ino / Hayashi:
TRYANGLE (Doubtmusic)

Two 60's collaborators of Japanese guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi--drummer Hiroshi Yamazaki and bassist Nobuyoshi Ino--formed this "Tryangle" to invite third improvisers for their performances, here joining forces with alto saxophonist Eiichi Hayashi (Catle Band, Aki Takase) for this exceptional live concert at Koen-dori Classics, in Tokyo, Japan in 2022. ... Click to View


New Monuments (Don Dietrich / Ben Hall / Camille Dietrich / Tony Gordon):
Language is the Skin [CD w/ DOWNLOAD] (Torn Light)

Recording in Detroit in 2021 the ruggedly extreme free jazz quartet New Monuments of Don Dietrich (Borbetomagus) on saxophone, Ben Hall on percussion, Camille Dietrich on cello and Tony Gordon on electric bass guitar shred through six collective improvisations, taking time for burning solo moments and electrically-fueled exchanges; scorching! ... Click to View


Nickolas Mohanna :
Sight Drawings [VINYL w/ DOWNLOAD] (Run/Off Editions)

Using sources from the world about him--field recordings, sampled orchestral noises, and voice recorders--New York composer and sound artist Nickolas Mohanna explores the spatial impressions of sound within a delicate acousmatic language, weaving inexplicable sounds into reorganized, recognizable components, creating a solid and compelling structural language. ... Click to View


Marina Rosenfeld :
roygbiv&b [BOOK] (Run/Off Editions)

A handsome spiral-bound book to accompany experimental sound artist and turntablist Marin Rosenfeld's roygbiv&b project riffing on the title through performance memory exercises, with text including a "User's Manual", a foreward by musicologist Benjamin Piekut, color & b/w images from the performance & exhibition, and four fold-out pages with scores. ... Click to View



  •  •  •     Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Facebook: Squidco Sales

Heard In

Reviews of artist releases:
cd's, books, magazines, &c.


  Joe McPhee 
  Route 84 Quarantine Blues  
  (Corbett vs. Dempsey) 


  
   review by Nick Ostrum
  2022-08-15
Joe McPhee: Route 84 Quarantine Blues (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Close mic. Huffs, puffs, bites, and tongue plucks all audible. This is like a living room performance, as if Joe McPhee is just ten feet away playing as much for himself as for the attendees. Apparently, this was actually recorded (beautifully, mind you) in McPhee's own closet. It is almost confessional.

During the first two years of the pandemic, it seems nearly every musician began churning out solo releases. There is something about this specific release, however, that makes this one different. Although he is a living tenor legend, McPhee is even more than that. And this and so many other recent releases show that. Clearly, at 82 years old, he is not done.

I cannot help but think of Arthur Doyle's solo endeavors Plays and Sings from the Songbook, Volume 1 or The Songwriter in terms of unvarnished intimacy and the simple repeating melodies that bind each track. Given the three decades of sound technologies separating them, it should not be surprising that this sounds much better and, of course, McPhee is a much different musician than Doyle. However, that feeling of a visionary musician driven to make an album in the face of opposition, comes through. It reaches toward that kind of purity of sound, warts, warbles, warps and all.

Route 84 Quarantine Blues starts small, with huffs and disjointed tones, which eventually evolve into a familiar, bluesy melody. Then he unfurls. Huffing begets squawking begets squeaking. McPhee can hold his own among honkers. Just think of Two Bands and a Legend or Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet. Nevertheless, he maintains a rare tenderness as his ghostly, broken, avant-blues takes center stage. This becomes especially clear on the title track, wherein several of McPhee's horns are layered. This bursts the solo living room illusion, but also reminds the listener of the estrangement of the times. He soars on Route 84, laying jagged lick upon jagged lick. However, through it all and in contrast with the pure solo setting of the rest of the album, this piece points to an earlier and (hopefully) future time, wherein horns can join in real-time and achieve a collective vision. Coupled with the poetry and pronouncements which have become a staple of McPhee's small group and solo performances and recordings as of late, Route 84 yearns for conversation and engagement.

It is potent and it is personal. Especially in track two, which he dedicates to his forebearers who chose to sink into the Atlantic over enslavement, one can really hear the aching in the tenor's quaver and McPhee's muffled vocal cries. This is a song of tragedy and loss, but also, in a disconcerting but very real sense, of the triumph of the lone human spirit and the African will for freedom against everything.

The album consists of 11 tracks. These include McPhee improvisatory riffing on both Carla Bely and Charles Mingus themes, including an ode/take on Joni Mitchell's rendition of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" lightheartedly titled "Goodbye Porky Pig Hat" — and a lot of McPhee's own instant compositions and meditations on the moment. Inspirations range from the Black Panthers to Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Interstate 84 to, or course, the Covid pandemic. Throughout it all, the recording sounds close. One can hear everything, from the huff and hiss of his breath as he pushes it through the horn to the air slipping out of the side of his lips to the click of his tongue that vibrates the reed. It all sounds so natural at this point, as if even the inevitable unintentional sounds are there for a reason. And, as McPhee does, he often leans into those accidents as if they are more than incidental products. This is something that has made this musician so distinctive over the years. He plays with confidence and force but also with a vulnerability that I have not heard captured quite so potently before.

For those not yet acquainted with McPhee's solo work, I can think of no better place to start. For those already initiated, this one may still surprise you.



Joe McPhee: Route 84 Quarantine Blues
Is On Sale at Squidco!
Squidco




Comments and Feedback:



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Dreamstruck (
Crispell
Fonda
Sorgen):
With Grace In Mind
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)



The Work:
The Worst
of Everywhere
[2 CDs]
(Ultragash)



Rempis
Reid
Abrams:
Allium
(Aerophonic)



Seabrook
Cleaver
Cooper-Moore:
In The Swarm
[VINYL]
(Astral Spirits)



Horace Silver Quintet:
Live New York,
Revisited
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records
Ltd)



Graewe
Lonberg Holm
Gratkowski:
Trilinear Polarity
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)



Joel Futterman:
Intervals 2
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)



Sylvain Kassap Sextet :
Octobres
(RogueArt)



Nickolas Mohanna :
Sight Drawings
[VINYL w/
DOWNLOAD]
(Run/Off Editions)



Great Waitress (
Mayas
Brooks
Altman):
Back, Before
(Splitrec)



Die Hochstapler :
Within
(Umlaut Records)



Nomad Trio (
feat
Gordon Grdina
Matt Mitchell
Jim Black):
Boiling Point
(Astral Spirits)



John McCowen:
Models of Duration
[VINYL]
(Astral Spirits)



Keefe Jackson
Oscar Jan Hoogland
Joshua Abrams
Mikel Patrick Avery:
These Things
Happen
[VINYL]
(Astral Spirits)



Rudi Mahall
Michael Griener:
Jazzpreis
[VINYL]
(Astral Spirits)



Daniel Carter
Matthew Shipp
William Parker
Gerald Cleaver:
Welcome Adventure!
Vol. 2
[VINYL]
(577 Records)



Michel Banabila :
More Research
From
The Same Dept.
[
[CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]
(Tapu Records)



Susie Ibarra
Tashi Dorji:
Master of Time
[VINYL]
(Astral Spirits)



Brodie West Quintet:
Meadow of Dreams
[VINYL]
(Astral Spirits)



Konstrukt & Peter Brotzmann:
Dolunay
[VINYL 2 LPs + DOWNLOAD]
(KARLRECORDS)







Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (35458)