Tuesday 7 May 2019, 7.30pm
“McPhee's horns are always rapturously engaged in a liberation dance for sounds that have spent millenia waiting to be heard. And he doesn't just set them free; he arranges for them a true life in the audible world, a life filled with purpose and joy.” – All About Jazz
For over 4 decades Joe McPhee has been pursuing a beauty in his music that balances the fierce attack of European free improve with a lyrical poetry stemming from Coltrane’s Love Supreme and hinting at the dark roots of his country’s civil rights protests. Joe has performed and still performs with musicians across all music: Survival Unit, Brotzmann’s Tentet, Dominic Duval, The Thing, Raymond Boni, Andre Jaume, Decoy with John Edwards, Steve Noble & Alexander Hawkins, Evan Parker amongst others.
This very specxial residency draws together the various strands of Joe's incredibly diverse, ever-curious sonic approach, with a jam-packed line-up of collaboprators old and new. Even across four nights it's hard to do justice to the scale of his musical output but what's guaranteed is that each of these nights will be unmissable in its own way.
Since his emergence on the creative jazz and new music scene in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Joe McPhee has been a deeply emotional composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a thoughtful conceptualist and theoretician.
McPhee’s first recordings as leader appeared on the CjR label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson . These include Underground Railroad by the Joe McPhee Quartet in 1969, Nation Time by Joe McPhee in 1970, and Trinity by Joe McPhee, Harold E. Smith and Mike Kull in 1971.
By 1974, Swiss entrepreneur Werner X. Uehlinger had become aware of McPhee’s recordings and unreleased tapes. Uehlinger was so impressed that he decided to form the Hat Hut label as a vehicle to release McPhee’s work. The label’s first LP was Black Magic Man, which had been recorded by McPhee in 1970. Black Magic Man was followed by The Willisau Concert and the landmark solo recording Tenor, released by Hat Hut in 1976. The earliest recordings by McPhee are often informed by the revolutionary movements of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s; for example, Nation Time is a tribute to poet Amiri Baraka and Joe McPhee & Survival Unit II at WBAI’s Free Music Store, 1971 (finally released as a Hat Art CD in 1996) is a sometimes anguished post-Coltrane cry for freedom.
During the 1990’s, McPhee finally began to attract wider attention from the North American creative jazz community. He has since been performing and recording prodigiously as both leader and collaborator, appearing on such labels as CIMP, Okkadisk, Music & Arts, and Victo. In 1996, 20 years after Tenor, Hatology released As Serious As Your Life, another solo recording (this time featuring McPhee performing on various instruments). McPhee also began a fruitful relationship with Chicago reedman Ken Vandermark , engaging in a set of improvisational dialogues with Vandermark and bassist Kent Kessler on the 1998 Okkadisk CD A Meeting in Chicago. The Vandermark connection also led to McPhee’s appearance on the Peter BrotzmanChicagoOctet/Tentet three-CD box set released by Okkadisk that same year. As the 1990s drew to a close, McPhee discovered two like-minded improvisers in bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen- TRIO X.
"He is a stellar improviser, relishing his sound materials so caringly and for so long, the kind of player that invites you to really step outside of whatever mix you're and think and feel for a while." Hank Shteamer, Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches
Nilssen-Love has, during the last couple of years, established himself on the international scene as a powerful drummer with high energy and creativity. In 2002 he was "Artist in Residence" at Molde International Jazz Festival, a title Chick Corea and Pat Metheny held in previous years. After 7 days and 9 concerts at the festival, Down Beat stated, "His week at Molde proved a revelation: Nilssen-Love is one of the most innovative, dynamic and versatile drummers in jazz."
Ute Kanngiesser is a London based musician from Germany. She has played classical cello since early childhood and turned to improvisation and experimental music while training in physical theatre and dance in Berlin. Since then, she has thoroughly deconstructed her classical roots and focussed on the immediate material of her instrument - its limitless resonance and pulse, its potential for an elemental music that dissolves conventional notions of rhythm and pitch and what it means to be lyrical.
Most recent collaborations have been with Seymour Wright, Crystabel Riley, Paul Abbott, Keira Greene, Billy Steiger, Evie Ward, Daniel Blumberg, Tom Wheatley, Jim White, Taku Sugimoto, Minami Saeki, Joe McPhee, David Ornette Cherry, and Steve Noble.
Her music has been released on Otoroku, Matchless, Earshots, Another Timbre and Mute. www.utekanngiesser.com