The Squid's Ear Magazine


McPhee, Joe / Michael Marcus / Jay Rosen / Warren Smith: Blue Reality Quartet! (Mahakala Music)

Woodwind player Michael Marcus' duo with drummer Jay Rosen performed with fellow reedsman Joe McPhee and a 2nd drummer at the Jazzgalerie Nickelsdorf in 2018, the concept so appealing that he took it to the studio in New York, with Warren Smith handling the 2nd drum part and cementing this unusually orchestrated and elegantly passionate band as "The Blue Reality Quartet".
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Michael Marcus-woodwinds

Joe McPhee-woodwinds

Jay Rosen-percussion

Warren Smith-percussion


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UPC: 195269088682

Label: Mahakala Music
Catalog ID: MAHA-015
Squidco Product Code: 30796

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at East Side Studios, in New York City, New York, on November 21st, 2020, by Alex Tobin and Lou Holtzman.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In 2018, jazz musician extraordinaire Michael Marcus got an invite to bring his duo with drummer Jay Rosen to the Austrian venue Jazzgalerie Nickelsdorf. And when he arrived, the promoter of their show sprung a novel idea on them: performing their set with fellow reedsman Joe McPhee and another drummer.

"It was a great concept," Marcus remembers. "And the chemistry was really good." So much so that Marcus wanted to capture the sound of this unusual group-two horns and two percussionists improvising without a bass player or a piano or any other chordal instruments-on record. But with the drummer they played with in Austria unavailable to travel, Marcus, Rosen, and McPhee called on their friend and collaborator Warren Smith. And the Blue Reality Quartet was born.

The name of this project has a little history behind it and multiple layers of meaning. 20 years ago, Marcus and Rosen recorded an album called Blue Reality as part of a trio with bassist Tarus Matteen. It was another one of those magical sessions with the right mix of players and energy that Marcus always wanted to revisit. But with Mateen busy working alongside pianist Jason Moran, that reunion has been put on the back burner. At the same time, Marcus wanted to use the name of this group to acknowledge the time and circumstances in which the album was recorded.

As the front cover should tell you - pictures of each player, their faces covered by a mask, the four men met up in a New York studio in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic. So Blue Reality is a nod to a terrible time in our collective history that had an incalculable impact on the music industry and resulted in the deaths of thousands of people worldwide. To hear Marcus tell it, the chemistry that this group had was so potent that they're all ready to get back together for another hit. "I think there's a real mutual love within the group," he says. "I think there's a real potential there. It's really special and really unique and I don't think there's anything quite like it out there." We couldn't agree more."-Mahakala Music



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
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Artist Biographies

"Michael Marcus (August 25, 1952) is an American jazz clarinetist and multi-woodwind player - A clarinet, bass clarinet, octavin, tarogato, soprano saxophone; also tenor, baritone, bass, C melody, and straight alto (stritch), and saxello saxophones, composer and arranger. Since releasing his debut recording as a leader, "Under the Wire" for Enja Records in 1991, he has appeared on over thirty-five records for Soul Note, Justin' Time, Not Two, Boxholder, Ayler, Drimala, CIMP and Qwest/Warner.

He has composed over 125 original/recorded compositions. Marcus was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant. Marcus' first professional gigs were with Albert King and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Michael has recorded and toured with the Saxemble (Frank Lowe & James Carter) and with the great Mr. Jaki Byard. With Sonny Simmons, he is the co-leader of The Cosmosamatics with 9 recordings and multiple domestic and international tours. Michael performed in a duo context with master drum legend Edgar Bateman. Marcus and Ted Daniel comprise Duology, which has collaborated with Andrew Cyrille. Michael continues to record and tour with his own group.

He has performed/recorded with: Albert King (w/Harold Attyberry, Oliver Johnson), Bobby Blue Bland (w/Mel Brown, Wayne Bennett, Morris Atchison, Joe Hardin), Sonny Simmons, Jaki Byard Trio, Rahn Burton, Billy Higgins, Carlos "Patato" Valdes, Santi De Briano, Ted Daniel, Henry Grimes, Nasheet Waits, Tarus Mateen, Jymie Merritt, Alvin Fielder, Chris Parker, Oliver Truchot, Neil Kirkwood, Warren Smith. Vince Wallace, Fred Hopkins, Philip Wilson, "Bishop" Norman Williams, B.J. PAPA, John Handy, Clifford Barbaro, Essiet Essiet, Masa Kamaguchi, Bob Cunningham, Roy Campbell, Butch Morris, Steve Neil, Eddie Henderson, Larry Hancock, Joe LaBarbra, Jay Rosen, Mel Graves, Charles & Cody Moffett, Chris Sullivan, Reggie Nicholson, Carlos Ward, Aaron James, Radu Williams, Matt Brewer, Big Joe Turner, Hill Greene, Butch Morris, Christian Ravaglioli, Jerry McKinney, Charlie Kohlhase, Drori Mondlak, Itaru Oki, Makoto Sato, Erich Hunt, Tim Price, Muziki Roberson, Carlton Holmes, Aruan Ortiz, Keith Saunders, Sam Dockery, Greg Murphy, Dwayne Burno, Mark Helias, Juni Booth, Eric Zinman, Eric Revis, Richard Clements, Hideji Taninaka, Herbie Lewis, Joe Bonner, Sid Simmons, Taru Alexander, Andrew Cyrille, Roswell Rudd, Rashaan Carter, Antoine Roney, Grachan Moncur, Francois Grillot, Eric McPherson, John Bacon Jr., Greg Piontek, Vincent Chancey, Henry Threadgill, Rudy Lawless, Leon Joyce, Daniel Levin, Bob Arkin, Tom Bruno, Art Lewis, Peter Herbert, Emil Ram, Perry Robinson, John Patton, Scott Colley, Curtis Lundy, Bob Feldman, Dave Burrell, Xavier Davis, Gene Jackson, Darrel Green, Emanuel Harrold, Reggie Workman, Tyler Mitchell, Sonny Rhodes, Donald Smith, Eddie Gladden, Dominic Duval, Cecil Wells, Newman T. Baker, Georg Wolf, Bruce Edwards, Sadiq Abdushahid, Chris Amberger, Joe McPhee, Mort Weiss, Don Friedman Trio, Heshima Mark Williams, Ron McClure, Theo Jorgensmann, Jonathan Robinson, Mike Boone, Luther Thomas, Sandor Moss, Zarak Simmons, Grant Levin, Brian Ho, Don Alberts, Kiane Zawadi, Azar Lawrence, Larry Smith, Gary Strauss, Sylvia Cuenca, Matt Vinders, Pheeron Aklaff and Wade Barnes.

Also, with Makanda Ken McIntyre Ensemble, Grachan Moncur's Big Band, Zane Massey's "Liberation Suite", Jemeel Moondoc's JUS GREW Orchestra (w/Steve Swell, Bern Nix, Chad Taylor, Gerald Cleaver, N. Breedlove & Tyronne Hill), The Saxemble (w/ Frank Lowe, James Carter & Cindy Blackman) - (2005), Joe Bowie's Defunkt, and performing in a duet with drum great, Edgar Bateman and many more great artists.

Michael in 1997-8 had the pleasure to record & tour with the late great Mr. Jaki Byard! He is extremely active in the 2000's. Co-leading the "Cosmosamatics" w/Sonny Simmons (touring & recording) - the Cosmosamatics have released eight CDs. Mr. Marcus has seen the release of "Ithem" for Ayler Records - a 1993 date with William Parker and Denis Charles, his first unaccompanied recording "Speakin' Out"(Drimala, 2002). He also cut two trio recordings for SoulNote Records "Blue Reality" and "Soulifications"(w/Tarus Mateen & Jay Rosen or w/Nasheet Waits). Current projects are: "Duology", an innovative duo of brass and Bb clarinet where he joins forces with Ted Daniel on their new release "Duology/Andrew Cyrille" 2012 on Jazzwerkstatt! Duology "Golden Atoms" on SoulNote (2008), also "Michael Marcus & Magic Door", a new and flexible group representing Michael's release for Not Two, "The Magic Door". Michael is currently focusing on his recordings and performances with the Bb clarinet, exclusively. While Michael continues to grow into new visions in the new millenium, he is now also presenting his music in the format of the traditional quartet/quintet of- "Clarinet-piano-bass-drums & percussion", keeping a flame alive! This group in includes: Jessie Crawford, John Austria, Charlie Taylor, amongst the members. Michael's newest release is now also out on Not Two Records "Lotus Symphony"(www.nottwo.com-Nov.2008) w/Taru Alexander, John Austria, Rashaan Carter, Radu Ben Judah, Jay Rosen & special guest: Antoine Roney! (2009)

Jazz clarinetist, Michael Marcus' latest NYC performances have included - Alan Jay Palmer, Rashaan Carter, Russell Carter, Dezron Douglas, Francois Grillot, David Bryant, Denton Darien, Benito Gonzalez & trumpeter Lenwood "Woody" Turner, performing his latest compositions in his quartet! 2010: The Cosmosamatics tour! 2011: Michael releases "For Yes!" on NotTwo. Invited to be part of Craig Harris' historic concert, "Breathe" (10/16/16)."

-Michael Marcus Website (http://michaelmarcusmusic.com/)
2/26/2024

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)
2/26/2024

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

"Jay Rosen (born November 20, 1961) is an American jazz drummer. He is a member of Trio X with Joe McPhee and Dominic Duval and performs in Cosmosomatics with Sonny Simmons.

At age 10, Rosen became interested in jazz drumming after seeing Tony Williams perform with Sonny Rollins. He took lessons from Tracy Alexander, son of Mousey Alexander (with an occasional lesson from the elder Alexander). Later, he would study briefly with Barry Altschul.

Around age 18, Rosen became a professional musician. He worked at studios, weddings, and cocktail lounges in rock, rhythm and blues, country, jazz, and Brazilian music. His recording career in improvised music began in the mid-1990s, when he recorded Split Personality (GM Records) with Mark Whitecage and Dominic Duval. He began an association with the CIMP label in 1996, and has also recorded for Cadence). Todd Jenkins describes Rosen and Duval as the "house rhythm section" for CIMP, given the number of recordings on which they have appeared.:231

Since 1998, Rosen has performed with Joe McPhee and Dominic Duval in Trio X.:360 In 2000, he joined Cosmosomatics, a quartet with saxophonists Sonny Simmons and Michael Marcus and bassist William Parker.:114

Rosen describes himself as "a musician who plays percussion" rather than "'just a drummer.'" He uses a set of small cymbals that he approaches "like a string player, or a reed player," and his drum kit includes objects such as a boat propeller and a set of organ pipes that he activates with foot-driven bellows. Although Rosen is associated with free improvisation, he questions whether the music he plays is "free:"

"While 'free music' indicates that you're free to play whatever you want to play and you're not following chord progressions, and there's no time, there's no this, no that...The way I've been playing free music, with my constituents, doesn't really follow those guidelines. When we play, it's very well put together, in actuality. We're not just blowing to blow; there's listening going on, there's concerted effort at construction and organization, at putting things together - at minute levels - that hardly go on in 'free music' anymore."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Rosen_(drummer))
2/26/2024

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

"Warren Smith (born May 14, 1934) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, known as a contributor to Max Roach's M'boom ensemble and leader of the Composer's Workshop Ensemble (Strata-East).

Smith was born May 14, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois to a musical family. His father played saxophone and clarinet with Noble Sissle and Jimmie Noone, and his mother was a harpist and pianist. At the age of four he studied studied clarinet with his father. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1957, then received a master's degree in percussion from the Manhattan School of Music in 1958.

One of his earliest major recording dates was with Miles Davis as a vibraphonist in 1957. He found work in Broadway pit bands in 1958, and also played with Gil Evans that year. In 1961 he co-founded the Composers Workshop Ensemble. In the 1960s Smith accompanied Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Lloyd Price, and Nat King Cole; he worked with Sam Rivers from 196476 and with Gil Evans again from 1968 to 1976. In 1969 he played with Janis Joplin and in 1971 with King Curtis and Tony Williams. He was also a founding member of Max Roach's percussion ensemble, M'Boom, in 1970.

In the 1970s and 1980s Smith had a loft called Studio Wis which acted as a performing and recording space for many young New York jazz musicians, such as Wadada Leo Smith and Oliver Lake. Through the 1970s Smith played with Andrew White, Julius Hemphill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, and Carmen McRae. Other credits include extensive work with rock and pop musicians and time spent with Anthony Braxton, Charles Mingus, Henry Threadgill, Van Morrison, and Joe Zawinul. He continued to work on Broadway into the 1990s, and has performed with a number of classical ensembles.

Smith taught in the New York City public school system from 1958 to 1968, at Third Street Settlement from 1960 to 1967, at Adelphi University in 19701, and at SUNY-Old Westbury from 1971."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Smith_(jazz_percussionist))
2/26/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Love Exists Everywhere 6:44

2. Chartreuse Tulips 3:21

3. Joe's Train 4:34

4. Coney Island Funk 5:41

5. Bluer Than Blue 4:40

6. East Side Dillema 8:50

7. Warren's Theme 6:39

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings
Joe McPhee
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Mahakala Music.


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