The Squid's Ear Magazine


Alcorn, Susan / Joe McPhee / Ken Vandermark: Invitation To A Dream (Astral Spirits)

An excellent album of informed free improvisation in the debut of this masterful trio of legendary musicians spread across the US--Joe McPhee on soprano sax & pocket trumpet [NY], Ken Vandermark on tenor sax & clarinet [Chicago], and Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar [Texas], a profound album from assertive to introspective playing in seven captivating collective improvisations.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Susan Alcorn-pedal steel guitar

Joe McPhee-soprano saxophone, pocket trumpet

Ken Vandermark-tenor saxophone, clarinet


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Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS100CD
Squidco Product Code: 27994

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in Austin, Texas, on September 13th, 2017, by Ian Rundell.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Invitation To A Dream is the debut album from the jazz trio consisting of Susan Alcorn, Ken Vandermark, and Joe McPhee. Moving between soft and loud, ferocious bursts of sound, it plays like a deep conversation held by three world-class improvisors. The album's opener, "Invitation To A Dream," is led by Alcorn's drifting and winding guitar; it's tense and haunting until it arrives at the midway point, where the trio explode into a ringing cacophony of fiery sound. "I Am Because You Are" opens with a similar tone, but the aggression builds quickly; the song's tension and volume briefly rise, and then the ensemble settles back into an outro section of delicate interplay. A sharp, playful solo from McPhee, undergirded by Alcorn's swinging, ascending lines, bursts from the center of "Rise And Rise." Nearly a third of the way through, the track turns on its heels, giving way a sound filled with a deep sense of dread and menace.

The product of three seasoned musicians with decades of experience between them, Invitation To A Dream deftly moves between soft minimalism and aggressive, fiery bombast. Each track is a showcase for their collective mastery of dynamics, experimentation, and emotional tone. McPhee, Alcorn, and Vandermark have succeeded in creating an impressive collection of modern improvisational music."-John Morrison, Bandcamp Daily

Also available on vinyl LP.

Artist Biographies

"Susan Alcorn (born 1953) is an American composer, improvisor, and pedal steel guitarist. Having started out playing guitar at the age of twelve, she quickly immersed herself in folk music, blues, and the pop music of the 1960s. A chance encounter with blues musician Muddy Waters steered her towards playing slide guitar. By the time she was twenty-one, she had immersed herself in the pedal steel guitar, playing in country and western swing bands in Texas.

Soon, she began to combine the techniques of country-western pedal steel with her own extended techniques to form a personal style influenced by free jazz, avant-garde classical music, Indian ragas, Indigenous traditions, and various folk musics of the world. By the early 1990s her music began to show an influence of the holistic and feminist "deep listening" philosophies of Pauline Oliveros.

Though mostly a solo performer, Alcorn has collaborated with numerous artists including Pauline Oliveros, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Kowald, Chris Cutler, Joe Giardullo, Caroline Kraabel, Earl Howard, Le Quan Ninh, Sean Meehan, Joe McPhee, LaDonna Smith, Mike Cooper, Walter Daniels, Ellen Fullman, Jandek, George Burt, Janel Leppin, Michael Formanek, Ellery Eskelin, Fred Frith, Maggie Nicols, Evan Parker, Johanna Varner, Zane Campbell and Mary Halvorson."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Alcorn)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"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)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Born in Warwick, Rhode Island on September 22nd, 1964, Ken Vandermark began studying the tenor saxophone at the age of 16. Since graduating with a degree in Film and Communications from McGill University during the spring of 1986, his primary creative emphasis has been the exploration of contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation. In 1989, he moved to Chicago from Boston, and has worked continuously from the early 1990's onward, both as a performer and organizer in North America and Europe, recording in a large array of contexts, with many internationally renowned musicians (such as Fred Anderson, Ab Baars, Peter Brötzmann, Tim Daisy, Hamid Drake, Terrie Ex, Mats Gustafsson, Devin Hoff, Christof Kurzmann, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love, Paul Lytton, Andy Moor, Joe Morris, and Nate Wooley). His current activity includes work with Made To Break, The Resonance Ensemble, Side A, Lean Left, Fire Room, the DKV Trio, and duos with Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy; in addition, he is the music director of the experimental Pop band, The Margots. More than half of each year is spent touring in Europe, North America, and Japan, and his concerts and numerous recordings have been critically acclaimed both at home and abroad. In addition to the tenor sax, he also plays the bass and Bb clarinet, and baritone saxophone. In 1999 he was awarded the MacArthur prize for music."

-Ken Vandermark Website (http://kenvandermark.com/2013/10/made-to-break-biography/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Invitation To A Dream 11:27

2. Every Season Has Its Reason 6:39

3. I Am Because You Are 3:48

4. Bing Says Ming 10:12

5. The Eyes Of Memory 9:26

6. Rise and Rise 3:43

7. Gone 3:41

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Joe McPhee
Ken Vandermark
Collective Free Improvsation
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Astral Spirits.


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